3 in 5 First-Time Smokers Become Daily Smokers, Says Study

3 in 5 First-Time Smokers Become Daily Smokers, Says Study

At least three out of five people who experiment with a cigarette end up becoming daily smokers at some point, a new study finds.

The researchers analyzed eight surveys from the Global Health Data Exchange, which included questions on the first trial of a cigarette as well as daily smoking habits.

Lead researcher Professor Peter Hajek, from Queen Mary, said: "This is the first time that the remarkable hold that cigarettes can establish after a single experience has been documented from such a large set of data".

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 results of each survey were collated and used to calculate a conversion rate from ever trying a cigarette to ever smoking daily. Among those, 68.9% said they had gone on to smoke every day.

There was also a large discrepancy in results between the surveys, with the conversion rate from trying cigarettes to daily smoker ranging from 50% in one of the United States surveys to 82% in one of the United Kingdom surveys. In the development of any addictive behavior, the move from experimentation to daily practice is an important landmark, as it implies that a recreational activity is turning into a compulsive need.

Because the surveys used different methodologies and thus yielded different results, researchers explained the estimated 68.9% "conversion rate" from experimentation to daily smoking has a margin of error, between 60.9% and 76.9%.

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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.

According to the World Health Organization study, 27.1 percent of Turkish people smoked cigarettes in 2015, compared to 31.2 percent in 2010.

"Alcohol can only be sold by licensed shops, while anyone can sell cigarettes, which are far more addictive and lethal".

Almost three million are now using e-cigarettes in a bid to quit, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Meanwhile around 2.9 million people in the United Kingdom were e-cigarette users in 2016, it said.

"We want to celebrate the quit attempt itself because the evidence is clear, the more attempts you make to quit the more likely it is that you will succeed", says Zeller.

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