Researchers found that 69% of people who dabble with just one experimental cigarette end up smoking every day, even if just temporarily.
"It is possible that somebody who is a lifetime non-smoker did try a cigarette when they were a kid but it didn't make any impression on them, and they forgot it or don't see that it is important enough to report", Peter Hajek, professor of psychology and Director of the Tobacco Dependence Research Unit at Queen Marys, told the Guardian.
"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". The results also didn't show how long these people took up smoking for.
New analysis of survey data suggests that almost 61% of people who try their first cigarette become daily smokers, at least temporarily.
Data sets from eight surveys were found from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand, and the survey methods were found to be on par with best practice.
The findings from over 215,000 survey respondents provide strong support for prioritizing efforts to reduce cigarette experimentation among adolescents.
The researchers found that 60.3 percent of respondents had said they had ever tried a cigarette, and among those, an estimated 68.9 percent said they had progressed to daily smoking. Since the different surveys used a range of methodologies, this estimated conversion rate was assigned a margin of error, meaning it could be as low as 60.9 percent and as high as 76.9 percent.
"Tobacco use starts in childhood for two-thirds of smokers in the United Kingdom, and this study suggests that even trying a cigarette becomes regular use in most cases", she added.
While all surveys point to the fact that trying cigarettes once is highly likely to lead to daily smoking, there exist some variations from one survey to the next. As per the new research, those who consume one cigarette daily can develop a habit of chain smokers, and it can happen with more than two-thirds of people who use one cigarette in a day.
'The presence of nicotine is clearly not the whole story'. It has been proven that the rate of becoming a smoker after experiencing smoking for the first time is higher than expected.
In 2016, 15.5% of the adults from the United Kingdom smoked, down from 19.9% in 2010, according to the office for National Statistics.