Smoke once & you're hooked, study confirms

Bryan Strickland
January 11, 2018

While smoking as a teen was once a rite of passage, researchers reveal the recent reduction in the number of smokers overall could be down to the fact teenagers are already "experimenting" with cigarettes less than they used to. It shows around 50 to 82 percent people had gone for smoke on a daily basis or temporarily after trying a cigarette a day and when they combined the data, the percentage increased to 68.9%. Prof Hajek says some of that could also be down to the introduction of e-cigarettes.

"In the development of any addictive behaviour, the move from experimentation to daily practice is an important landmark, as it implies that a recreational activity is turning into a compulsive need".

Researchers from the Queen Mary University of London, studied survey data from 215,000 people across four countries, the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand to come to their conclusion. He also stated that this is the first time where the link between trying the first cigarette and becoming a regular smoker presented in a large data set.

The conversion rates (from one cigarette to daily smoking habit) varied quite substantially depending on the survey, the lowest being 50 percent (a U.S. survey) and the highest being 82 percent (a United Kingdom survey).

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He said: It is striking that very few non-smokers who try e-cigarettes become daily vapers, while such a large proportion of non-smokers who try conventional cigarettes become daily smokers. "The presence of nicotine is clearly not the whole story".

The experts believed that the research might have been skewed because people who smoked were less likely to respond the surveys than those who didn't smoke.

If you have a circle of friends and anyone around you who are daily smokers, then you might have thought to give it a try once for sure. This does not take recall error and personal bias into account, as the study relies on people to provide information about their historical smoking habits.

The results published in the Oxford University Press peer-reviewed journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research suggested that more than a half of adults, English-speakers living in developed countries between 2000 and 2016 tried at least one cigarette, but less than a half of those decided not to keep doing it.

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