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Students & Addiction


A physician's viewpoint on cigarette advertising


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How much smoking does it take to become addicted?


A recent study (2000) published in the British Medical Association journal Tobacco Control suggests that addiction may occur much earlier in some smokers than previously suspected.


The study followed 12 and 13 year old smokers in Massachusetts for a year.  Of the 95 students that started smoking occasionally which was defined as at least one cigarette per month.  The study found that 60% of these young smokers had one or more symptoms of addiction even at a low level of smoking.


Approximately 25% of those students with symptoms developed them within the first two weeks of starting to smoke.  Most students with symptoms of addiction developed them before they started smoking daily. 


The prior assumption has been that it takes daily smoking for a substantial period of time before addiction occurs.


It now appears that there may be large portion of youth who become addicted with low levels of smoking after a short period of time. Other individuals may require a longer period of heavier smoking before addiction occurs.


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