More than 60% who try a cigarette become daily smokers, study says

Two thirds of people who try cigarettes go on to become daily smokers a new study has found

Research gathered from 215,000 survey participants in the U.S., U.K, Australia and New Zealand showed 60.3 percent of people had tried smoking cigarettes, and of those who tried it, an estimated 68.9 percent picked up a daily habit. As per the results of the research, 68.9 per cent of those who tried smoking did eventually get addicted to it. But the figures varied form country to country, a phenomenon that has yet not been explained by the research. The study team noticed that 61 percent of first time smokers turn into regular smokers.

The findings, published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research, provides strong support for prioritising efforts to reduce cigarette experimentation among adolescents.

Lead researcher Professor Peter Hajek said: The UK is seeing a dramatic reduction in smoking at the moment and this tallies with recent findings that only 19% of 11 to 15-year-olds have ever tried a cigarette, so the good news is that we are on the right track.

Considering the high conversion rate found across the surveys, the researchers conclude that at least some of the decline in smoking prevalence observed over the last 20 years could be attributed to a reduction in experimentation by adolescents. Turkey's health ministry has carried out multiple anti-smoking initiatives since then, including awareness campaigns and increased enforcement against violators of the indoor smoking restrictions.

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Researchers found that 69% of people who dabble with just one experimental cigarette end up smoking every day, even if just temporarily. The results suggest that health authorities should try to stop youngsters from experimenting with cigarettes.

The study team further informed, "In the development of any addictive behaviour, the move from experimentation to daily practice is an important landmark, as it implies that a recreational activity is turning into a compulsive need".

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

Steve Brine, public health minister, added, "Britain is a world leader in tobacco control, and thanks to our tough action smoking rates in England are at an all-time low".

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