A research study on smoking has revealed that nicotine dependence can develop in some smokers right after the first puff even before they become regular users. Smoking cessation programs for teenagers have had little success and this finding needs to be integrated into the cessation programs aimed at youngsters for the programs to be successful.
The natural course of cigarette use has traditionally been thought to progress through 5 stages, ending with nicotine-dependent smoking. In this research study, Gervais and colleagues describe the sequence and timing of 12 milestones (6 related to cigarette use and 6 to symptoms of nicotine dependence) among grade 7 students.
In a related commentary, Klein discusses the challenges in helping young smokers quit and the need for stronger public health efforts to keep youth from starting in the first place.