Smoking after waking up 'could increase cancer risk'

30 August 2011

Smokers who light up their first cigarette soon after waking up may have an increased risk of developing head, lung and neck cancers, new studies have found.

While the cancerous effects of smoking are well documented, the research, published in the Cancer journal, could help to improve the rate of cancer diagnosis by identifying those most at risk at an early stage and commencing targeted intervention programmes.

Researchers from Columbia University and Penn State College of Medicine analysed 4,775 lung cancer cases and 2,835 controls. They found that those who smoked 31 to 60 minutes after waking were 1.42 times more likely to develop the disease, with the chance increasing to 1.59 times for those who lit up within 30 minutes.

"Our finding that time to first cigarette raises the risk of cancer is the latest in a long series of studies that … [describe] the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer," claimed director of the overall research programme Dr Steven Stellman.

A recent paper published in Toxicological Sciences claimed that lung cancer could also develop through acquiring nanoparticles of nickel, triggering the HIF-1 alpha process in epithelial cells and encouraging tumour growth.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1 Muscat, Joshua E., "Nicotine dependence phenotype, time to first cigarette, and risk of head and neck cancer". Cancer: Journal of the American Cancer Society. Monday August 8th 2011.

2 Pietruska, Jodie R., et al., "Bioavailability, intracellular mobilization of nickel, and HIF-1α activation in human lung epithelial cells exposed to metallic nickel and nickel oxide nanoparticles". Toxicological Sciences. Tuesday August 9th 2011.

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