Published: Wed, January 10, 2018
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

First Time Smokers Have A Higher Risk Of Becoming Addicted, Study Shows

First Time Smokers Have A Higher Risk Of Becoming Addicted, Study Shows

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

Combined, the surveys (three from the U.S., three from the United Kingdom, one from Australia, and one from New Zealand) included responses from more than 216,000 individuals who had been selected at random to provide a representative sample of the general adult population of the countries involved.

For those who think one cigarette will not make them addicted to it, here is a warning, it will.

The study is published in the journal Nicotine And Tobacco Research.

The data of more than 215,000 people, analysed by Queen Mary University of London, found at least 60.9% of people who try smoking repeat the habit daily, at least temporarily. In the development of any addictive behavior, the move from experimentation to daily practice is an important landmark, as it implies that a recreational activity is turning into a compulsive need.

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

There was also a large discrepancy in results between the surveys, with the conversion rate from trying cigarettes to daily smoker ranging from 50% in one of the U.S. surveys to 82% in one of the United Kingdom surveys.

Because the surveys used different methodologies and thus yielded different results, researchers explained the estimated 68.9% "conversion rate" from experimentation to daily smoking has a margin of error, between 60.9% and 76.9%.

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The study authors said that this means cigarettes have a "remarkable hold" even after just one experience, and added that this confirmed the importance of stopping people from experimenting with tobacco products.

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.

"Alcohol can only be sold by licensed shops, while anyone can sell cigarettes, which are far more addictive and lethal".

In 2016, 15.8% of British adults smoked which equates to around 7.6 million people.

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

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

Around 2.9 million Britons were e-cigarette users in 2016.

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