3 of 5 People Who Try A Cigarette Once Become Daily Smokers
An examination on smoking habits by researchers at the Queen Mary University of London has found that nearly two-thirds (61%) of people who try a cigarette become daily smokers – at least for some time.
The results, which were culled from more than 215,000 survey respondents, offer support for boosting efforts to reduce adolescents’ experimentation with cigarette smoking, say the authors.
Lead researcher Professor Peter Hajek from Queen Mary said the following in a statement:
“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.”
“We’ve found that the conversion rate from ‘first-time smoker’ to ‘daily smoker’ is surprisingly high, which helps confirm the importance of preventing cigarette experimentation in the first place.”
For the study, investigators examined the Global Health Data Exchange, searching for surveys that included questions about trying a cigarette and daily smoking. Information was collected from eight surveys conducted in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.
Researchers concluded that 60.3% of survey respondents stated they had tried a cigarette at one point, and of those, around 69% reported their smoking progressed to an everyday habit.
Considering the significant rate of conversion suggested in all surveys, the researchers posit that some reduction in the prevalence of smoking in the last two decades was likely a result of less cigarette experimentation among adolescents.
Indeed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of high school students and adults who reported smoking a cigarette in the past month fell from 25-28% in 1991 to roughly 16-18% in 2013. In 1965, the number of past-month smoking adults was nearly 1 in 2 (42%.)
In 2015, about 15 of every 100 U.S. adults (15.1%) currently smoked cigarettes, down from 21 of 100 (20.9%) in 2005.
By 2020, the CDC has a goal set of only 12% of adults to have reported smoking.