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Early Morning Smokers At Higher Risk Of Cancer

December 3, 2009

New research has shown that people who look forward to smoking a cigarette upon waking up may be at an increased risk of developing lung disease.

Dr Joshua E. Muscat, professor of public health sciences at Penn State College of Medicine studied levels of cotinine, a by-product of nicotine when processed by the body among smokers.

The study involved more than 250 healthy people who smoked every day.

“Since cotinine levels appear to reflect the risk of lung cancer, our results suggest that smokers who smoke immediately after waking may be especially at risk for lung cancer,” said Muscat.

“These people may require a more intensive intervention than other smokers to help them quit smoking on a sustained or permanent basis.”

Muscat’s study is published in the American Association for Cancer Research’s journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Muscat’s team found that smokers who waited until after they ate breakfast had noticeably lowered amounts of cotinine.

They found that cotinine levels varied among smokers who lit up 20 times each day, with the highest levels witnessed in those who smoked their first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking up.

“Not all smokers are the same and approaches to smoking reduction may need to account for individual smoking behaviors such as the intensity and frequency of puffing, cravings, and physiological symptoms,” said Muscat.

Researchers are conducting follow-up studies to investigate levels of additional nicotine metabolites.

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