Did You Know: A Single Cigarette Can Make You A Regular Smoker!
Efforts to control cigarette experimentation in adolescents need to be prioritized.
3 out of 5 people can become regular smokers by just trying one cigarette!
- 3 out of 5 people who just try a cigarette, end up becoming daily smokers
- Better control over smoking experimentation in adolescents needed
- Conversion rate from 'first time smoker' to 'daily smoker' is quite high
Just trying a cigarette may sound like an innocent habit, but, for 3 out of 5 people, it's not! A study suggests that 3 out of 5 people, who just try a cigarette, end up becoming daily smokers. Hence, these results from a study of over 215000 respondents showed that efforts to reduce cigarette experimentation in adolescents needs to be prioritized.
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.
"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. We've found that the conversion rate from 'first time smoker' to 'daily smoker' is surprisingly high, which helps confirm the importance of preventing cigarette experimentation in the first place.
The researchers searched the Global Health Data Exchange for relevant surveys that included questions about ever trying a cigarette and ever smoking daily.
Datasets from eight surveys were found from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand, and the survey methods were found to be on par with best practice. Data were analyzed to calculate the conversion rate from ever trying a cigarette to ever smoking daily.
The team calculated that 60.3 per cent of respondents had said they had ever tried a cigarette, and among those, an estimated 68.9 per cent said they had progressed to daily smoking.
The different surveys used different methodologies and yielded different results, so the estimated 68.9 per cent 'conversion rate' from experimentation to daily smoking has a margin of error (between 60.9 and 76.9 per cent).
Given the high conversion rate found in all existing surveys, the researchers suggest that at least some of the reduction in smoking prevalence observed over the past 20 years is likely due to reduced experimentation with cigarettes among adolescents.
Professor Peter Hajek added: "Concerns were expressed that e-cigarettes could be as addictive as conventional cigarettes, but this has not been the case. It is striking that very few non-smokers who try e-cigarettes become daily vapers, while such a large proportion on non-smokers who try conventional cigarettes become daily smokers. The presence of nicotine is clearly not the whole story."
The findings have been published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.