Researchers surveyed middle schoolers from diverse backgrounds and found those whose parents had an "authoritative" and "structured" parenting style were also more likely to be discouraged from smoking by their parents and less likely to become smokers.
"Many past studies have examined broad parenting styles, however this study looked at how specific parenting strategies may help protect youth from cigarette smoking initiation," said Cassandra Stanton, an assistant professor in the oncology department at Georgetown University, who led the study.
"We also note that unlike many studies in the area that are conducted in largely white middle class samples, this study was conducted in an urban multi-ethnic low-income school district," Stanton told Reuters Health.
It's important to identify ways of helping parents prevent kids from starting to smoke, Stanton's team writes in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, because the majority of lifetime smokers begin before the age of 18.
Although the number of teenage smokers has declined significantly, one in three young adults reports smoking at least once in the past 30 days, according to a 2012 report by the U.S. Surgeon General.
Image: No smoking sign, via Shutterstock