PHILADELPHIA (CBS/CNN) — At least three out of five people who experiment with a cigarette end up becoming daily smokers at some point, a new study finds.
Anna Kriek, 35, tried her first cigarette when she was just a teen. She’s now a regular smoker.
“It’s just a break to gather my thoughts, check my phone,” she explained. “Sometimes, it’s just a social thing, really.”
UK researchers analyzed responses from 215,000 people across eight surveys conducted in the UK, the United States, Australia and New Zealand that were included in the Global Health Data Exchange.
Of the responses, just over 60 percent had ever tried a cigarette, and among those, almost 69 percent reported that they had gone on to become daily smokers.
“It doesn’t mean that these people are hooked for life, but they will progress to daily smoking for, at least, a period of time,” Peter Hajek, the lead researcher, said.
Despite declining smoking rates in the United States, 36.5 million adults are still regular cigarette smokers.
The new study, published in the journal “Nicotine and Tobacco Research,” also looked at e-cigarettes.
“Almost no young people who try e-cigarettes become daily vapers,” Hajek said. “They experiment, but they don’t progress to smoking.”
Anna Kriek says she plans to quit.
“It’s a bad habit. It’s a personal choice, and it’s also very expensive.”
She’s not alone. Stopping smoking continues to be one of the top New Year’s resolutions.
The CDC says more than 16 million Americans live with a disease caused by smoking, including cancer, heart problems, stroke and diabetes.
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