New study shows most people who try cigarettes become regular smokers

  • New study shows most people who try cigarettes become regular smokers

New study shows most people who try cigarettes become regular smokers

It was shown that 60.3 percent of respondents had ever tried a cigarette, with an estimated 68.9 percent of these progressing to daily smoking.

The scientists used a global database to gather results from 8 surveys spanning the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand. 215000 people were included in 8 surveys that were done in 16 years.

More than two-thirds of people who smoke just 1 cigarette go on to become, at least temporarily, daily smokers, a study suggests.

Lead researcher Professor Peter Hajek, from Queen Mary University of London, 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".

Hajek added that this high "conversion rate" to smoking highlights the importance of preventing people trying cigarettes in the first place and that some of the reduction in terms of numbers of smokers in more recent years is probably aided by fewer teens trying it.

However, Professor Hajek but refutes a link between daily smoking and vaping.

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 UK surveys. This does not take recall error and personal bias into account, as the study relies on people to provide information about their historical smoking habits.

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.

Deborah Arnott, chief executive of the charity Action on Smoking and Health, called for the greater government regulation of tobacco sales. "Yet the Government is refusing to introduce licencing for tobacco retailers, even though there is strong support for this both from the public and retailers".

While it is natural to see some variation between surveys, it is interesting to note that United Kingdom respondents were consistently more likely to say they developed a habit compared to those from the other three countries.

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.

"Fortunately, in the United Kingdom, youth smoking rates continue to decline - but we shouldn't be complacent".