1.1 million children – almost half of all children in poverty – were estimated to be living in poverty with at least one parent who smokes; and a further 400,000 would be classed as being in poverty if parental tobacco expenditure were subtracted from household income.
This is the first UK study to highlight the extent to which smoking exacerbates child poverty. The findings, published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, are based on national surveys which estimate the number of children living in poverty by household structure. In 1999, the UK government announced a target to abolish child poverty by 2020, though this target is unlikely to be met. It is therefore crucial to identify avoidable factors that contribute to and worsen child poverty.