A study has warned that teenagers who've just started puffing those cigarettes are unable to identify the early symptoms of nicotine dependence.
Led by Dr. Chyke Doubeni, of the University of Massachusetts, the study found that among kids who have started smoking, "an urge to smoke or being irritable because they are not able to smoke is a sign of early dependence. But they don't seem to recognize that symptoms such as irritability are harbingers of addiction."
"Previous studies have already shown that there is a strong correlation between symptoms of nicotine dependence and nicotine addiction. This study shows that adolescents who start smoking, don't appear to recognize the early signs of dependence," said Doubeni.
Other signs of early dependence that go unnoticed include experiencing a desire to smoke or craving for a cigarette.
The study concluded that non-daily use of tobacco could trigger any of these early signs of dependence.
Early dependence promotes increased smoking, which in turn accelerates additional signs of dependence, which leads to even higher frequencies of smoking.
Eventually, it leads to addiction.
The conclusions are based on a study that surveyed adolescent smokers every three to four months, over a four-year period from 2002-2006.
The study found that over those four years, of the 370 subjects who had inhaled from a cigarette, 62pct smoked at least once per month, 52pct experienced dependence symptoms, and 40pct went on to become daily smokers.
The study was published in the latest issue of Pediatrics.