"First thing in the morning smokers face a greater risk according to new research," explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the QAmerican Association for Critical Illness Insurance http://www.criticalillnessinsuranceinfo.org, a trade group. "Those who wait longer before having their first cigarette apparently face a lower risk of cancers." There were 1.5 million new cancer cases in the U.S. according to Association data.
The study will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Cancer. Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine explained that early morning smokers have higher levels of nicotine and possibly other tobacco toxins in their body. As a result, they may be more addicted than smokers who refrain from smoking for a half hour or more.
Researchers compared nearly 4,800 lung cancer patients with some 2,800 smokers who didn't have cancer. They reported finding that those who smoked 31 to 60 minutes after waking up were 1.3 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who waited at least an hour before lighting up.
The study researchers added that those individuals who smoked within 30 minutes of waking up were 1.79 times more likely to develop lung cancer.
In a separate analysis, the investigators compared over 1,050 smokers with head and neck cancer with nearly 800 smokers without the disease. Those who smoked 31 to 60 minutes after waking up were 1.42 times more likely to develop cancer than those who waited more than an hour minutes to have a cigarette. Smokers who had their first cigarette within a half hour of waking up were 1.59 times more likely to develop head and neck cancer.
The findings suggest the desire to have a cigarette immediately after waking up may increase smokers' risk for cancer. In particular, these smokers would benefit from smoking cessation programs and should focus specifically on this early morning behavior.
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The American Association for Critical Illness Insurance http://www.criticalillnessinsuranceinfo.org is a national trade organization. Get info and costs at their Consumer Information Center: http://www.criticalillnessinsuranceinfo.org/