Speed Reads

what a drag

Two-thirds of people who try a cigarette even once become daily smokers

Smoking even once can be a serious drag, a recent study found.

The study, compiled by researchers in London, found that if you smoke even a single cigarette, you're depressingly likely to go through a serious smoking phase. The scientists reached that conclusion by synthesizing data from eight different studies on tobacco use, The Guardian reported Wednesday. The data ranged from 2000 to 2016 and examined the smoking habits of adults in the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand.

The findings, which were published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, are striking. An average of 60 percent of the more than 200,000 respondents had smoked a cigarette — and nearly 69 percent of the nicotine-curious eventually formed a daily habit.

BBC points out that the study's aggregated findings represent an average, and the exact numbers vary from country to country. Individuals in the U.K., for example, were particularly susceptible to becoming regular smokers after trying one cigarette, as more than 80 percent of respondents there who had smoked one cigarette reported taking up a daily habit. By comparison, respondents in the U.S. who had lit up just once only formed a habit 52 percent of the time.

Peter Hajek, one of the study's co-authors, conceded that respondents' fickle memories could play a role in the findings. Still, he warned against downplaying the study: "Even if you assume there is a recall issue," he told The Guardian, "you are talking about more than a 50 percent [rate of continued smoking]."

Read the full study at Nicotine and Tobacco Research.