New analysis of survey data suggests that almost 61% of people who try their first cigarette become daily smokers, at least temporarily.
Steve Brine, public health minister, added, "Britain is a world leader in tobacco control, and thanks to our tough action smoking rates in England are at an all-time low".
They added that it showed the remarkable hold that cigarettes can establish after a single experience - and said the findings should be used to warn teenagers against experimenting with tobacco. The total amount of respondents was of 216,314.
Nearly nine out of 10 cigarette smokers in the US first tried smoking before they were 18, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers found that 69% of people who had ever tried a cigarette had gone on to become a daily smoker, even if just temporarily.
All the surveys included questions about ever trying a cigarette and any subsequent daily smoking habit.
They say that as the surveys used different methods, there was quite a wide margin of error and the "conversion" rate could be anywhere between 60.9% and 76.9%.
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The authors conclude: "The transition from trying the first cigarette through occasional to daily smoking usually implies that a recreational activity is turning into a compulsive need that has to be satisfied virtually continuously".
In a city where, according to medical experts, every resident unwilling ends up smoking close to 45 cigarettes daily due to extremely high pollution levels in winter months, smokers are especially vulnerable to heart and lung-related diseases caused by consumption of tobacco products.
Linda Bauld, professor of health policy at the University of Stirling, said the study highlighted the importance of preventing smoking in the first place.
"The government is refusing to introduce licensing for tobacco retailers, even though there is strong support for this both from the public and retailers", she said.
In 2016, 15.5% of adults from the United Kingdom smoked - about 7.6 million people - according to the Office for National Statistics, down from 19.9% in 2010.