Cancer and Tobacco Control

Early-morning smoking more risky

Smokers who light up as soon as they wake up in the morning are more likely to develop lung and oral cancer than other smokers, a new study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention reveals.

According to the research, people who had a cigarette immediately after waking up had higher levels of NNAL – a byproduct of a tobacco-specific cancer-causing substance called NNK – in their blood than those who smoked a half hour or more after waking, regardless of how many cigarettes they smoked in a day.

Researchers analysed data from nearly 2 000 adult smokers who took part in the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The participants provided blood samples and information about their smoking behaviour.

The investigators found that about 32 percent of the participants smoked their first cigarette of the day within five minutes of waking. Among the others, 31 percent smoked within 6 to 30 minutes, 18 percent smoked within 31 to 60 minutes, and 19 percent smoked more than an hour after waking.

“Most importantly, we found that NNAL level was highest among people who smoked the soonest upon waking, regardless of the frequency of smoking and other factors that predict NNAL concentrations,” study co-author Steven Branstetter, from Penn State University in the US, said in a news release.

They also found that NNAL levels in the participants’ blood was also associated with factors such as their age, their gender, the age they started smoking, and whether or not another smoker lived in their home.

“We believe these people who smoke sooner after waking inhale more deeply and more thoroughly, which could explain the higher levels of NNAL in their blood, as well as their higher risk of developing oral or lung cancer,” he added. “As a result, time to first cigarette might be an important factor in the identification of high-risk smokers and in the development of interventions targeted toward early morning smokers.”

Source: HealthDay News

About the author

Health-e News

Health-e News is South Africa's dedicated health news service and home to OurHealth citizen journalism. Follow us on Twitter @HealtheNews