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Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

One puff of a cigarette is enough to get you hooked

One puff of a cigarette is enough to get you hooked

For example, among the eight surveys, each revealed different percentages for those who became daily smokers, ranging from 52 percent in the U.S.to 82 percent in the United Kingdom, meaning the two-thirds estimate was a weighted average, not a standard proportion.

The research team also noted that it's possible current smokers were less likely to take part in this survey than non or past smokers: A great part of the homeless population smokes and people with mental health problems, who are less likely to answer surveys.

New analysis of survey data suggests that almost 61% of people who try their first cigarette become daily smokers, at least temporarily.

Research gathered from 215,000 survey participants in the USA, U.K, Australia and New Zealand showed 60.3 percent of people had tried smoking cigarettes, and of those who tried it, an estimated 68.9 percent picked up a daily habit.

The findings, which were published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, are striking.

Together, the surveys included more than 216,000 respondents, with between 50% and 82% saying that, after trying a cigarette, they had gone on to smoke on a daily basis - at least temporarily.

Vaping not as addictive stock
Image Vaping is not as addictive the authors found and people don't become daily vapers

They looked at eight surveys conducted after 2000, with questions regarding trying a cigarette and smoking daily.

Considering the high conversion rate found across the surveys, the researchers conclude that at least some of the decline in smoking prevalence observed over the last 20 years could be attributed to a reduction in experimentation by adolescents.

It was shown that 60.3 percent of respondents had ever tried a cigarette, with an estimated 68.9 percent of these progressing to daily smoking.

Based on survey results from 4 different countries - including the United Kingdom - the findings highlight how addictive tobacco cigarettes are, and the importance of ensuring that stop smoking services are made available to help people quit.

Prof Hajek says some of that could also be down to the introduction of e-cigarettes.

"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. "The presence of nicotine is clearly not the whole story", Hajek said. It has been proven that the rate of becoming a smoker after experiencing smoking for the first time is higher than expected.

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