Church, Family Prevent Underage Smoking

New studies link lower rates of smoking in youths with stable families and weekly religious attendance.

This year the Marriage and Religion Research Institute® (MARRI) published an article on smoking trends before the age of 17, which shows that “12 percent of children who grew up in an intact married family and who now worship at least weekly have ever smoked,” whereas, “34 percent of those who grew up in all other family structures and never attend church [have ever smoked].” Those other family structures include married stepfamily, cohabitating stepfamily, single divorced-parent family, and always-single parent family.

This report continues the history of studies showing that family relationships and religious practices play important roles in the development of child behaviors.

Further surveys in the MARRI report show that teenagers who frequently have dinner with their families or who claim religion as an important aspect in their lives were significantly less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs.

As the family unit breaks apart and as religious attendance declines, children become more susceptible to drugs and alcohol.

During years of important cognitive development, children need a healthy and supportive environment to flourish apart from the encroachment of harmful substances.

– Source: Marriage & Religion Research Institute, 02/24/11.