Majority who try just one cigarette become daily smokers

Study shows ‘the remarkable hold cigarettes can establish after a single experience’

Prof Peter Hajek: ‘Concerns were expressed that e-cigarettes could be as addictive as conventional cigarettes, but this was not the case.’ Photograph: iStock

Prof Peter Hajek: ‘Concerns were expressed that e-cigarettes could be as addictive as conventional cigarettes, but this was not the case.’ Photograph: iStock

 

Two-thirds of people who try a cigarette go on to become daily smokers, a new study has found.

Researchers found 69 per cent of people who had ever tried a cigarette had gone on to become a daily smoker, even if just temporarily.

The authors from Queen Mary University of London said the study showed “the remarkable hold that cigarettes can establish after a single experience”.

The study, published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, provides support for reducing cigarette experimentation among teenagers.

Researchers searched global databases for studies examining cigarette experimentation and smoking habits, including research from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Data from eight surveys with information on more than 215,000 people were included.

High figures

The team found that 60.3 per cent of respondents said they had ever tried a cigarette and among those, 68.9 per cent said they had progressed to daily smoking.

Lead researcher professor Peter Hajek, from Queen Mary University, said while figures are high, the UK is seeing a dramatic reduction in the number of people smoking. “This tallies with recent findings that only 19 per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds have ever tried a cigarette, so the good news is that we are on the right track.”

Prof 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 of non-smokers who try conventional cigarettes become daily smokers. The presence of nicotine is clearly not the whole story.” – PA