Most daily smokers get hooked after first cigarette, study finds

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But a recent study has revealed that smoking even one cigarette for the first time can make more than two-thirds of people addicts.

"[This shows] prevention, providing [fewer] opportunities or reasons for young people to try a cigarette, is a good idea", said Peter Hajek, co-author of the research, from Queen Mary University of London.

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.

Researchers from Queen Mary University, London, analyzed the results of eight surveys on smoking habits in English-speaking countries and found that a single cigarette is enough to spark a daily smoking habit - at least temporarily - in 69 percent of people.

Nearly nine out of 10 cigarette smokers in the US first tried smoking before they were 18, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This percentage was based on 215,000 respondents of eight surveys taken across the USA, U.K., New Zealand and Australia and compiled in the Global Health Data Exchange.

All the surveys included questions about ever trying a cigarette and any subsequent daily smoking habit.

"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.

Researchers found that around 7 in 10 of those who said they'd ever tried a cigarette went on to smoke daily.

"Tobacco use starts in childhood for two-thirds of smokers in the United Kingdom, and this study suggests that even trying a cigarette becomes regular use in most cases", she added. As per the new research, those who consume one cigarette daily can develop a habit of chain smokers, and it can happen with more than two-thirds of people who use one cigarette in a day. "The presence of nicotine is clearly not the whole story", Hajek said.

The findings, which were based on responses from over 215,000 survey respondents, provide strong support for prioritizing efforts to decrease cigarette experimentation among adolescents.

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. Smoking rates were lowest in England (15.5%) and highest in Northern Ireland (18.1%).

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