Those Who Smoke As Soon As They Wake Up Have Much Higher Cancer Risk

If you are a smoker who lights up within 30 minutes of waking up in the morning, your risk of developing lung and head and neck cancers is considerably higher than that of smokers who wait more than one hour, researchers from Pennn State College of Medicine in Hershey reported in the journal Cancer. The authors added that their findings may help identify those who have a particularly high cancer risk and would benefit from targeted smoking interventions.

It is well established and accepted that cigarette smoking raises the individual’s risk of developing several types of cancers. However, some smokers become ill while others don’t. Joshua Muscat, PhD and team wanted to determine whether severe nicotine addiction, which can be characterized by how long smokers take before they have their first cigarette after waking up, had any impact on lung and head and neck cancers, regardless of how often they smoked and for how long.

Study 1, lung cancer – the study included 4,775 cases of lung cancer and 2,835 people without lung cancer – they were all regular smokers.

They found that, compared to those who smoked more than 60 minutes after waking up:

Those who lit up within 31 to 60 minutes had a 1.31 greater chance of developing lung cancer

Those who lit up within 30 minutes had a 1.79 greater chance of developing lung cancer

Study 2, head and neck cancer – the study included 1,055 patients with head and neck cancer and 795 individuals without cancer – all of them had a history of cigarette smoking.

They found that, compared to those who smoked more than 60 minutes after waking up:

Those who lit up within 31 to 60 minutes had a 1.42 greater chance of developing head and neck cancer

Those who lit up within 30 minutes had a 1.59 greater chance of developing head and neck cancer

The researchers said that according to what they found, it appears that the need to smoke straight after waking up is linked to a higher cancer risk.

Dr. Muscat said:

“These smokers have higher levels of nicotine and possibly other tobacco toxins in their body, and they may be more addicted than smokers who refrain from smoking for a half hour or more. It may be a combination of genetic and personal factors that cause a higher dependence to nicotine.”

Smokers who light up straight away after waking up would benefit especially from targeted smoking cessation programs, the authors wrote.

Written by Christian Nordqvist

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