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Those first few drags may be the deadliest: Nicotine is such a powerful drug that teenagers can become addicted to it after smoking just one or two cigarettes, according to a groundbreaking study.
The research challenges the common assumption that nicotine dependency develops only after years of daily smoking and may help explain why anti-smoking programs aimed at teens fail.
"Kids, when they start to smoke, do so in an erratic, sporadic fashion," said Dr. Jennifer O'Loughlin, a researcher in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University in Montreal.
The study, published in yesterday's edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that, even among those who had tried smoking only once or twice, some teens experienced cravings associated with addiction.