3 out of 5 first-time smokers likely to take up daily smoking

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A recent study conducted by researchers at the Queen Mary University of London suggests that at least 61% of individuals trying their first cigarette are likely to become daily smokers, at least temporarily. The findings, which stem from an analysis of surveys, were published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Researchers identified surveys which included questions regarding ever trying a cigarette and ever smoking daily. 8 such surveys from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand were finalised for analysis. Conversion rates were determined for ever trying a cigarette to ever smoking daily.

The findings revealed that 60.3% of survey respondents admitted having ever tried a cigarette, of which 68.9% (95% CI, 60.9%-76.9%) had progressed to smoking daily.

Lead researcher Professor Peter Hajek said: "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." It is, therefore, crucial to prioritise efforts in reducing cigarette experimentation among adolescents.