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10 January 2018, 06:04 | Lena Norman
Smoking one cigarette can make two-thirds population addict
Now new research has found that almost 70 percent of people who try a cigarette just once go on to develop a daily habit.
But, he added, "I think even if you assume there is a recall issue and other things, you are talking about more than a 50% [conversion rate from trying a cigarette to daily smoking]".
The study's authors, from Queen Mary University of London, looked at eight surveys that had gathered information on 215,000 people from around the world. Data were analysed to calculate the conversion rate from ever trying a cigarette to ever smoking daily.
The findings, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, provides strong support for prioritising efforts to reduce cigarette experimentation among adolescents.
The authors conclude: "The transition from trying the first cigarette through occasional to daily smoking usually implies that a recreational activity is turning into a compulsive need that has to be satisfied virtually continuously".
As different surveys used different methodologies, the 68.9% "conversion rate" has a 16% margin of error (60.9% to 76.9%).
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One was that the surveys had yielded different results for the proportions who had progressed to becoming daily smokers - from 52% in one in the U.S. to 82% in one in the United Kingdom - which meant the 68.9% figure was an estimate, as a weighted average of the figures.
This research can be an important one in establishing the fact that development of addictive behaviour begins with one small step and thus there is a very high chance of developing addiction even among those who might be of the belief that they can resist the addiction and want to merely experience it once. "The presence of nicotine is clearly not the whole story", Hajek said.
Data from the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand found 60.3% of people had tried smoking and an estimated 68.9% of those progressed to a daily habit.
"Alcohol can only be sold by licensed shops, while anyone can sell cigarettes, which are far more addictive and lethal".
According to the Office for National Statistics, 7.6 million British adults were smokers in 2016 - with Northern Ireland having the highest proportion of people with the habit.
Meanwhile around 2.9 million people in the United Kingdom were e-cigarette users in 2016, it said.
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