London:  Fathers transmit their smoking habits to their sons, while mothers do the same for daughters. However, if a mother smokes it does not seem to induce the son to smoke, and similarly a father who smokes does not affect his daughter, says a new study.

The research is based on information from the British Household Panel Survey 1994-2002, the journal Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics reports. "We selected this data source because it gives detailed information on the products consumed in households, including tobacco, making it possible to analyse the transmission of smoking habits between generations," said Maria Loureiro.

Loureiro is a researcher at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), in Spain, and study co-author. The study was carried out in homes where both parents were present as well as in single parent households, which were primarily headed by mothers, according to a USC.

"The results obtained show that, in terms of smoking habits, after taking socio-economic variables into account, daughters tend to imitate their mothers, while sons imitate their fathers," says Loureiro.

The estimated probabilities of a son smoking if both parents smoke is 24 per cent, while for daughters it is 23 per cent, but this falls to almost 12 per cent for both sons and daughters if neither of the parents smokes. In single-parent households, mothers transmit their smoking habits to their children, regardless of their gender.