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One cig leads to daily habit

10 Jan 2018. A global survey has shown that about 69 per cent of individuals who try smoking begin to smoke on a regular basis, according to a press release by Queen Mary University of London.

The study, What Proportion of People Who Try One Cigarette Become Daily Smokers? A Meta-Analysis of Representative Surveys, was published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research in November 2017. The research is based on data from eight different surveys and more than 215,000 respondents in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand between 2000 and 2016.

60.3 per cent of individuals said they had smoked a cigarette before, and between 50 and 82 per cent of respondents said they had gone on to smoke daily, at least temporarily, after trying a cigarette. An estimated 68.9 per cent of those surveyed went on to smoke daily.

Peter Hajek, the lead researcher, from Queen Mary University of London is quoted as saying, "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 UK is seeing a dramatic reduction in smoking at the moment and this tallies with recent findings that only 19 per cent of 11-15 year olds have ever tried a cigarette, so the good news is that we are on the right track," Hajek as cited by the university press release.

This study shows how crucial preventive measures are in stopping adolescents from trying cigarettes, according to the university press release.

Hajek also commented on how this study applies to e-cigarettes. "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," Hajek said.

The authors, however, said that the study does have limitations because it is a survey based on self-reporting information, according to the university press release. This means that figures in the report are only an estimate. Furthermore, the study relies on the accuracy of the respondentsí memory of their smoking history.