It doesn’t take much to become a smoker. Just one cigarette can lead to daily smoking, according to a new report.
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Researchers from the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand recently conducted an experiment, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, to determine how many cigarettes could trigger an addiction.
To do so, they administered eight surveys from 2000 to 2016 to 215,000 people. It asked them if they had ever tried cigarettes and how often they smoked them.
After analyzing the results, they found that 60.3 percent of subjects said they tried a cigarette, and among those, an estimated 68.9 percent began smoking every day.
"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," lead researcher Peter Hajek said in a statement.
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The analysts did note the surveys used varying methodologies and yielded different results. Therefore, the 68.9 percent 'conversion rate' from first puff to daily intake had a margin of error between 60.9 and 76.9 per cent.
Despite the margin of error, they believe their results support the need to continually launch tobacco control campaigns to stress the importance of cigarette experimentation.
“We've found that the conversion rate from 'first time smoker' to 'daily smoker' is surprisingly high,” Hajek said, “which helps confirm the importance of preventing cigarette experimentation in the first place.”
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Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com