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Just One Cigarette a Month Can Be Addictive

No Such Thing as "Social Smoking"

One cigarette a month may not feel like a habit, but it can still get you hooked on nicotine. That's according to a study of adolescent smokers published in Pediatrics, which suggests that teens' experimentation with the occasional cigarette can lead to a lifetime of addiction.

The four-year study started with 1,246 middle school students and found that those who smoked even one cigarette a month were likely to become hooked, suggesting that what feels like mere enjoyment can build into dependence. Kids may become addicted without even realizing it until they turn 18 and can buy their own. Says Joseph DiFranza, who helped author the study:

"What happens is when you first get addicted, one cigarette a month or one cigarette a week is enough to keep your addiction satisfied. But as time goes by, you have to smoke cigarettes more and more frequently. So people may be addicted for more than a year before they feel the need to smoke a cigarette every day."

Approximately one-quarter of the teens studied experienced withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit, just three or more years after starting. This news doesn't surprise me; in fact, it confirms what I've witnessed firsthand. What about you? Did you smoke as a teen or socially then find it hard to stop? I've got seven tips to help you quit if you need a hand.

Image Source: Getty
ciecheesemeister ciecheesemeister 7 years
I did start smoking at a very young age--twelve. I was never a heavy smoker--at my heaviest I smoked half a pack a day. I smoked for a total of seventeen years, most of the time I only smoked about a pack a week. It was mostly out of boredom. I'd smoke when I was driving somewhere in the car. I quit for good nearly three years ago. At this point I can't even stand the smell of a cigarette. I have no idea how I smoked for that many years. I used to love it, too!
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
I have smoked them socially while drinking- one or two a month- but the first time I craved one was the last time I touched one. I think the appeal was really the taste for me, I loved the Camel Wides because they really are big, fat and delicious. I have not touched one in years and never plan on it again. Even to smell then now makes me nauseous.
juicebox07 juicebox07 7 years
I've been smoking on and off since I was about 12 or 13. I am not a regular smoker. I very rarely smoke. Occasionally, however, I might have a cigarette. I could buy a pack of cigarettes, smoke them, and then not smoke another for a year or longer (I've done it before). I have no withdrawal or anything. Do I think I have an addiction to it? Not exactly. Something keeps me coming back for more, but it's not hard for me to go without smoking.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 7 years
I've been doing this a couple of times a month for about ten years. I smoked up to two packs a day in college, so I don't sweat the occasional cigarette these days. I get horrible cigarette hangovers now, which is enough to keep me away from them for a couple of weeks or until the next time I drink enough to lack good judgment.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I've never believed people that say they're "social smokers"...if you light up, you're a smoker, pure and simple.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I think I've quit about 15 times now. I'll do great for a while, then have a cigarette when I'm out with friends or something and it totally destroys it. If I had a time machine I never would have started.
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