If you regularly have a cigarette first thing in the morning, you may be more likely to develop cancer than smokers who wait until later in the day for their first puff.
According to two new studies, published in the American Cancer Society’s journal Cancer, the timing of smokers’ first cigarette of the day is strongly linked to their risk of developing lung, head and neck cancers.
Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine examined more than 7,600 regular smokers, 4,775 of whom had lung cancer, and found that those who smoked within half an hour of waking up nearly doubled their likelihood of developing cancer than those who waited more than an hour.
Smokers who lit up within 30 minutes of waking were 1.79 times as likely to develop lung cancer. In a separate study, they were also found to be 1.59 times as likely to develop head and neck cancer.
Those who smoked between 31 and 60 minutes after waking were 1.31 times as likely to develop lung cancer, and 1.42 times as likely to develop head and neck cancer, even after the researchers adjusted for the frequency and duration of the subjects’ habit.
One of the researchers, Dr. Joshua Muscat, suggested that the increased cancer risk of smoking cigarettes earlier in the day could be linked to having a stronger addiction.
“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,” Dr. Muscat said in a press release. “It may be a combination of genetic and personal factors that cause a higher dependence to nicotine.”
For all you smokers, how soon after waking do you light up?