Medicine

‘Early morning smokers have increased risk of cancer’

Early morning smokers have higher levels of nicotine and possibly other tobacco toxins in their body, according to the recent research. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam  

Are you among those who need a cigarette soon after waking up in the morning? Then, you have an increased risk of developing lung, and head and neck cancers, two new studies have warned.

Published online in the peer-reviewed American Cancer Society journal Cancer, the findings may help identify smokers who have an especially high risk of developing cancer and would benefit from targeted smoking interventions to reduce their risk.

“These (early morning) 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 Muscat, of the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, who led both the studies.

“It may be a combination of genetic and personal factors that cause a higher dependence to nicotine,” Dr. Muscat said.

Cigarette smoking increases one’s risk of developing various types of cancers, but only some smokers get cancer.

Dr. Joshua Muscat and his colleagues tried to investigate whether nicotine dependence as characterised by the time to first cigarette after waking affects smokers’ risk of lung and head and neck cancers independent of cigarette smoking frequency and duration.

In the first study, they carried out a lung cancer analysis which included 4,775 lung cancer cases and 2,835 controls, all of whom were regular cigarette smokers.

Compared with individuals who smoked more than 60 minutes after waking, individuals who smoked 31 to 60 minutes after waking were found to be 1.31 times more likely to develop lung cancer, and those who smoked within 30 minutes were 1.79 times as likely to develop the disease.

In the second study, the researchers carried out a head and neck cancer analysis which included 1,055 head and neck cancer cases and 795 controls, all with a history of cigarette smoking.

Compared to those who smoked more than 60 minutes after waking individuals who smoked 31 to 60 minutes after waking were found 1.42 times as likely to develop head and neck cancer, and those who smoked within 30 minutes were 1.59 times as likely to develop head and neck cancer.

These findings indicate that the need to smoke right after waking in the morning may increase smokers’ likelihood of getting cancer, the researchers said.

Because smokers who light up first thing in the morning are a group that is at high risk of developing cancer, they would benefit from targeted smoking cessation programmes, they said.

Such interventions could help reduce tobacco’s negative health effects as well as the costs associated with its use, they added.

null
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 4:53:46 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/medicine-and-research/%E2%80%98Early-morning-smokers-have-increased-risk-of-cancer%E2%80%99/article13646510.ece

Next Story