A single cigarette can trigger smoking addiction, says study
10 January, 2018, 18:04
The sample subjects of the research included people from four countries including the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand.
"It is possible that somebody who is a lifetime non-smoker did try a cigarette when they were a kid but it didn't make any impression on them, and they forgot it or don't see that it is important enough to report", Peter Hajek, professor of psychology and Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Marys, told the Guardian.
However, they did point out questions can be raised over the recall accuracy people have in surveys concerning their smoking history, so more research may be needed in this area.
The analysis was based on the answers of 215,000 respondents to eight surveys from 2000 to 2016 kept in the Global Health Data Exchange.
As different surveys used different methodologies, the 68.9% "conversion rate" has a 16% margin of error (60.9% to 76.9%).
The study authors said that this means cigarettes have a "remarkable hold" even after just one experience, and added that this confirmed the importance of stopping people from experimenting with tobacco products.
Given the high conversion rate found in surveys, the researchers suggest that at least some of the reduction in smoking prevalence observed over the past 20 years is likely due to reduced experimentation with cigarettes among adolescents.
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For example, among the eight surveys, each revealed different percentages for those who became daily smokers, ranging from 52 percent in the U.S.to 82 percent in the United Kingdom, meaning the two-thirds estimate was a weighted average, not a standard proportion.
"Alcohol can only be sold by licensed shops, while anyone can sell cigarettes, which are far more addictive and lethal".
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics also showed that across the United Kingdom, more men are smokers than women.
"The presence of nicotine is clearly not the whole story".
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).
While, concerns were expressed that e-cigarettes could be as addictive as conventional cigarettes, but this has not been the case, the study stated.
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