The relationship between regular smoking behavior and the smoking behavior of parents, siblings and friends was investigated using data from the Netherlands Twin Register. Cross-sectional analyses of data of 3906 twins showed significant associations between smoking behavior of the participant and smoking behavior of co-twin, additional brothers, parents of the same sex as the participant and friends. Those variables, together with age, explained 47% of the variance in smoking behavior. Longitudinal analyses of data from 2397 twins, who, in 1993, reported never to have smoked (regularly), showed that uptake of regular smoking two years later was predicted by having a smoking co-twin, smoking same-sex siblings, smoking mother and smoking friends. Males are, in contrast to females, at a later age still vulnerable to taking up regular smoking. The variables explained 21% of the variance. Sport participation, alcohol use, boredom susceptibility and neuroticism significantly added to the predictive value of this model. Including those additional factors increased the explained variance to 30%, and subsequently adding experimental smoking behavior further increased the explained variance to almost 50%. In summary, having smoking family members and friends, as well as lifestyle and personality factors are important predictors for the uptake of regular smoking. However, the experimental smoking behavior of the participant is equally important.
- Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)