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Many Parents Unaware of Their Children’s E-Cigarette Use

Setting strict rules about tobacco use in the home tied to less youth tobacco initiation

MONDAY, Oct. 5, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Many parents are unaware of their children’s noncigarette tobacco use, according to a study published online Oct. 5 in Pediatrics.

Tsu-Shuan Wu and Benjamin W. Chaffee, D.D.S., Ph.D., both from the University of California in San Francisco, used data for 23,170 youth (aged 12 to 17 years) participating in waves 1 to 4 (2013 to 2018) of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study.

The researchers found that parents or guardians much less often knew or suspected that their children used tobacco if youth only reported use of electronic cigarettes, noncigarette combustible products, or smokeless tobacco compared with cigarettes. When youth and parents agreed to rules prohibiting all tobacco use throughout the home, youth tobacco initiation was lower (one-year adjusted odds ratio, 0.74; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.59 to 0.94), but initiation was not lower when parents talked with youth about tobacco (adjusted odds ratio, 1.08; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.94 to 1.23).

“Low parental awareness of e-cigarette use belies rising public attention to youth vaping. Youth tobacco use is a considerable public health concern, regardless of the tobacco product used, and parents play a very important role in tobacco prevention,” Wu said in a statement. “Creating tobacco-free home environments is one approach parents can use to set norms and expectations about tobacco use. And for health care providers, raising parental awareness should be part of overall guidance and tobacco-prevention support.”

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