Page last updated at 09:01 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

'Higher risk' of lung cancer from smoking first thing

Smoking cigarette
It is the time of day you light up which seems important

Smokers who light up on waking display higher levels of nicotine than those who wait, regardless of the number of cigarettes smoked, US research shows.

Scientists measured smokers' levels of cotinine, a by-product of nicotine which has been shown to reflect the risk of developing lung cancer.

Waiting until you had eaten breakfast reduced the amount of this chemical.

The Penn State College of Medicine study suggests the earlier smokers may need more help to give up.

The reasons for the differing levels were unclear, but are thought likely to reflect a more intense way of smoking among those who light up first thing - as their need may be greater than those who can wait.

More than 250 healthy people who smoked every day were included in the study, which was published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

Waking desire

Among smokers who consumed 20 cigarettes each day, cotinine levels varied dramatically - with the top levels nearly 75 times higher than the lowest levels.

Not all smokers are the same and approaches to smoking reduction may need to account for individual smoking behaviours such as the intensity and frequency of puffing, cravings, and physiological symptoms
Joshua Muscat
Report author

The highest levels were seen among those who lit up within 30 minutes of waking - categorised as high dependency.

"These people may require a more intensive intervention than other smokers to help them quit smoking on a sustained or permanent basis," said report author Joshua Muscat, professor of public health at Penn State College of Medicine.

"Not all smokers are the same and approaches to smoking reduction may need to account for individual smoking behaviours such as the intensity and frequency of puffing, cravings, and physiological symptoms."

A spokesperson for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation welcomed the research, which it said would help further understanding of smoking habits and addiction to tobacco.

"It is however a small study (252 participants), and therefore the findings should be taken with caution, and we are not entirely sure that any major conclusions on the future of smoking cessation can be made from this.

"We concur with the authors that more research is needed in this area."



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Road crashes 'bereave one in 100'
03 Dec 09 |  Health
Smoking curbs: The global picture
01 Jul 09 |  Special Reports
Will the ban boost public health?
01 Jul 07 |  Health
Smoking ban 'to save many lives'
30 Jun 08 |  Health

RELATED BBC LINKS

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific