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Smoking soon after waking raises risk of lung and head and neck cancers
Date:8/25/2011

August 25, 2011 -- Two new studies have found that smokers who tend to take their first cigarette soon after they wake up in the morning may have a higher risk of developing lung and head and neck cancers than smokers who refrain from lighting up right away. The findings by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and Penn State College of Medicine may help identify smokers who have an especially high risk of developing cancer and would benefit from targeted smoking interventions to reduce their risk.

The research was published early online in CANCER, journal of the American Cancer Society.

Cigarette smoking increases one's likelihood of developing various types of cancers. But why do only some smokers get cancer? The researchers investigated whether nicotine dependence as characterized 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.

The lung cancer analysis 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 1.31 times as likely to develop lung cancer, and those who smoked within 30 minutes were 1.79 times as likely to develop lung cancer. Read Journal article on Lung Cancer Risk.

The head and neck cancer analysis included 1,055 head and neck cancer cases and 795 controls, all with a history of cigarette smoking. Compared with individuals who smoked more than 60 minutes after waking, individuals who smoked 31 to 60 minutes after waking were 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' likelihoo
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Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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