A study in the U.S., has found that the likelihood of developing cancer is greater in those who reach for a cigarette in the first 30 minutes of waking in the morning compared to later in the day. In fact, the study concluded that waking and smoking nearly doubled the risk of lung cancer. The effect of ‘morning smoking’ was independent of other smoking habits according to a study of 7,610 smokers published in the journal Cancer. The researchers said that the “time to first cigarette” effect was present even after the statistical adjustment for other factors like the number of cigarettes smoked in a day.
At the Penn State College of Medicine in the U.S., scientists analysed 4,776 smokers with lung cancer and 2,835 smokers without cancer. The findings were outstanding. Patients who smoked in the first 30 minutes after waking up were 79% more likely to have developed cancer than those who waited at least an hour after waking.
A second study in the journal Cancer of 1,850 smokers, 1,055 of whom had head and neck cancers found that people who smoked in the first half hour were 59% more likely to have developed cancer than those who waited at least an hour. The scientists do not as yet know the relationship between smoking upon waking and a higher risk for cancer. “It is uncertain what explanation there is for the relationship”, they 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” said Dr Joshua Muscar, lead researcher.
Cancer Research UK’s Professor Robert West claimed: “Smokers who light up soon after waking tend to smoke each cigarette more intensively. So the most likely explanation of this finding is that the sooner a smoker lights up, the more smoke is taken into the lungs, and the higher the level of exposure to cancer causing chemicals. “This may help estimating levels of tobacco exposure more than just looking at the usual daily cigarette consumption.”