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Study Links Childhood Poverty To Smoking

A Duke University study found a link between poverty and smoking in adolescents.
Valentin Ottone via Flickr, Creative Commons

Researchers at Duke University have been studying the affect of poverty and parenting on substance abuse in adolescents.  The findings suggest self-control for teens is influenced by economic status earlier in life.  The study shows children growing up in poverty are more likely to smoke as adults. 

Bernard Fuemmeler worked on the study and is an associate professor at Duke.  He says nearly one in four kids in North Carolina is growing up in poverty and those numbers are increasing.

"This is detrimental to their own child psychological well-being," he said.  "It can affect development.  What we're finding is it can affect health behaviors which are important for cancer risk.  And so this is something that we need to attend to and we need to pay attention to the conditions of poverty and how they can affect health."

Fuemmeler says it was somewhat surprising that the study found kids who grew up in poverty were less likely to binge drink and no more prone to marijuana use than their adolescent peers.

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