Study finds trying one cigarette increases likelihood of smoking regularly

(CBS) -- 35-year-old Anna Kriek tried her first cigarette when she was just a teen. She now smokes regularly.

"It's just a break to gather my thoughts, check my phone. Sometimes, it's just a social thing, really," she says.

British researchers say more than 60% of people who take that first puff will go on to become daily smokers. They looked through surveys of more than 215,000 people- from teenagers on up - and found experimentation often leads to habitual smoking.

"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," says lead researcher Peter Hajek.

Despite declining smoking rates in the U.S., 36 and a half million adults are still regular cigarette smokers.

"So, from your findings, the best thing is to just not start at all?" asks CBS News' Teri Okita.
"That's absolutely right," Hajek replies.

The 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. (butt to 15:04:04) "They experiment, but they don't progress to smoking," Hajek says.

Anna Kriek says she plans to quit.

"It's a bad habit. It's a personal choice, and it's also very expensive," she says.

She's not alone. Stopping smoking continues to be one of the top new year's resolutions in both the U.S. and U.K.