Parental Tobacco Smoking and Child Malnutrition

This Working Paper was written by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) in Pakistan. The working paper examines the link between parental smoking and child malnutrition. The researchers used three measures to assess child malnutrition: stunting (height-for-age z-score (HAZ)), underweight (weight-for-age z-score (WAZ)), and wasting (weight-for-height z-score (WHZ)). 21.6% of children are exposed to parents who smoke, including 7% that live with mothers who smoke and 16.3% who live with fathers who smoke. This prevalence is higher in rural areas. The findings show that children exposed to smoking by their parents are more likely to be stunted, especially when the mother smokes (HAZ score of -0.237 and -0.412, respectively). The negative association between maternal, paternal, and parental smoking and stunting was significant in rural areas, specifically. On the other hand, exposure to secondhand smoke was not significantly associated with being underweight or wasting. The findings demonstrate the negative impact of parental smoking on children's health, reinforcing the importance of reducing smoking prevalence. 

A Policy Brief based on the working paper can be found here.