First Time Smokers Have A Higher Risk Of Becoming Addicted, Study Shows

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This figure might seem high but worldwide smoking rates are on the decline, especially among the young who are now more likely to pick up an e-cig over a traditional cigarette.

They said that the study, published in the journal Nicotine And Tobacco Research, provides support for reducing cigarette experimentation among teenagers.

Combined, the surveys (three from the U.S., three from the United Kingdom, one from Australia, and one from New Zealand) included responses from more than 216,000 individuals who had been selected at random to provide a representative sample of the general adult population of the countries involved.

Making smoking a habit doesn't take very long, the study has said.

They looked at eight surveys conducted after 2000, with questions regarding trying a cigarette and smoking daily.

"We've found that the conversion rate from "first time smoker" to "daily smoker" is surprisingly high", he said. In the United Kingdom, only 19 percent of 11 to 15 years olds reported having tried a cigarette, according to 2016 National Health Service, and in the US, only eight percent of high school students reported having smoked in the past 30 days.

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Lead researcher Professor Peter Hajek, a psychologist at Queen Mary, said: 'This is the first time the remarkable hold that cigarettes can establish after a single experience has been documented from such a large set of data. An average of 60 percent of the more than 200,000 respondents had smoked a cigarette - and almost 69 percent of the nicotine-curious eventually formed a daily habit.

The conversion rates (from one cigarette to daily smoking habit) varied quite substantially depending on the survey, the lowest being 50 percent (a USA survey) and the highest being 82 percent (a United Kingdom survey).

Good news is in both the US and England, the rate of first time smoking among young people is on a decline.

"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.

At least two-thirds of those who try cigarettes go on to become daily smokers, even if only temporarily, research suggests. "The presence of nicotine is clearly not the whole story", Hajek said.

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.