Medical

A single cigarette can trigger smoking addiction, says study

A single cigarette can trigger smoking addiction, says study

At least two-thirds of those who try cigarettes go on to become daily smokers, even if only temporarily, research suggests.

The sample subjects of the research included people from four countries including the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand. 60 per cent of the youngsters revealed that they had tried a cigarette once in their lifetime, with almost 69 per cent admitted to having progressed to becoming addicts.

Commenting on the findings, lead researcher Professor Peter Hajek, from Queen Mary, said: "This is the first time that the remarkable hold that cigarettes can establish after a single experience has been documented from such a large set of data".

The study's authors, from Queen Mary University of London, looked at eight surveys that had gathered information on 215,000 people from around the world.

Studies show that most smokers want to quit, and FDA Center for Tobacco Products Director Mitch Zeller says that's the hinge of a new campaign.

The authors conclude: "The transition from trying the first cigarette through occasional to daily smoking usually implies that a recreational activity is turning into a compulsive need that has to be satisfied virtually continuously".

Furthermore, because the variety of surveys used different methods, and yielded varying results, there is a margin of error between 60.9 and 76.9 percent.




He points out that the conversion rate from "first time smoker" to "daily smoker" is very high, and thus, the study confirms the importance of preventing cigarette experimentation in the first place.

"It is possible that somebody who is a lifetime non-smoker did try a cigarette when they were a kid but it didn't make any impression on them, and they forgot it or don't see that it is important enough to report", said Hajek.

In 2016, 15.5% of adults from the United Kingdom smoked - about 7.6 million people - according to the Office for National Statistics, down from 19.9% in 2010.

Concerns were expressed that e-cigarettes could be as addictive as conventional cigarettes, but this has not been the case.

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

'The presence of nicotine is clearly not the whole story'.


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