Abstract This report uses data from a 1986 Labour Force Survey (LFS) smoking supplement to examine the relationship between education and smoking prevalence within Canadian households and the influence of parental smoking behavior on the smoking behavior of their children. The sample was a national probability sample of 14,469 households and 30,000 respondents. Over one in two (54%) Canadian children are exposed to the presence of at least one adult smoker in the household. Parents and children within lower socioeconomic groups are more likely to be regular smokers than their counterparts in upper socioeconomic groups. Children in lower socioeconomic households are three times more likely to be exposed to a family environment in which both parents smoke than children in upper socioeconomic level households. At all socioeconomic levels, there is a gradient in the smoking prevalence among youth and young adults according to parental smoking behavior. The patterns of smoking within households suggest the possibility of increasing divergence in smoking rates between socioeconomic groups. The findings are discussed in terms of epidemiological and health promotion implications.