Childhood friends who smoke: Do they influence adolescents to make smoking transitions?

Jonathan B. Bricker, Arthur V. Peterson, M. Robyn Andersen, Kumar Rajan, Brian G. Leroux, Irwin G. Sarason

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


This study investigated longitudinally the extent to which childhood friends who smoke influence adolescents' smoking transitions, and compared that influence with that of parents who smoke. In a sample of 4744 children, results showed that the probability, per close friend, that a smoking close friend influenced the adolescent to make the first transition to trying smoking was 38% (95% CI: 28%, 46%); to make the second transition from trying to monthly smoking, 10% (95% CI: 5%, 15%); and to make the third transition from monthly to daily smoking, 11% (95% CI: 5%, 17%). Compared to parents' smoking, close friends' smoking was 12% (p = 0.03) more influential for the first transition, no different for the second transition (p = 0.53), and 16% (p = 0.01) less influential for the third transition. Results provide new evidence suggesting that childhood close friends who smoke influence not only initiation but also escalation of adolescents' smoking. Results also confirmed the important role of parents' smoking. Targeting both childhood close friends' and parents' smoking would be valuable in prevention research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-900
Number of pages12
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescents
  • Children
  • Friends
  • Parents
  • Smoking transitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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