Early Morning Smokers Have Greater Cancer Risk


It turns out that an early-morning cigarette could be much worse for your health than if you light up later in the day.  Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine discovered that people who smoke their first cigarette within 30 to 60 minutes of waking up are more likely to get cancer than people who wait longer.  People who smoked within the first 30 minutes after waking were nearly twice as likely to develop lung cancer than people who waited an hour.

Experts said that this finding made sense, given that the first cigarette of the day can be a barometer for how addicted the smoker is.  ”A lot of heavily addicted smokers overnight go into withdrawal,” explained Michael Fiore, director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. ”By the time they wake up, their blood nicotine level has fallen substantially, and their neuroreceptors are screaming, ‘You gotta feed me.’”

Other researchers suggested that people who smoked early in the morning inhaled more smoke into their lungs.  This intense smoking could raise the exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.

Unfortunately, as Eric Hayden observes over at the Atlantic, people who are used to early-morning cigarettes may find it difficult to kick the habit.  He cites a review of studies from 2007 which explained that people who smoked first thing in the morning were more likely to see that first cigarette as “heavy, uninterrupted and automatic smoking.”  The earlier the cigarette, the more difficult it would be for the smoker to quit.

So perhaps this study isn’t so much of a surprise.  But the risks are disturbing, especially when they’re set out so explicitly.  If this isn’t a good reason to push back the morning cigarette — or, better yet, try to quit smoking — I don’t know what is.

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Photo from Marco Gomes via flickr.

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Sheamus W.
Past Member 2 years ago

I definitely respect and am grateful for your point on every single object.
green smoke electronic cigarette

dawn w.
Dawn W.4 years ago

What's the difference?Smoking is bad at any time of day,so what if it's worse in the morning?Just quit!

Arthur Goh
Arthur Goh4 years ago

Every weekday morning, (on my way to the gym, passing by a suburb railway station) I saw a dozen of high school students (15-17 yrs old, in full school uniform) puffing away like a ship's funnel. I wonder how they could possibly concentrate on their studies through the rest of the day when their entire body and mind crave for nicotine.

I feel sad for them and sorry for their parents.

Barbara S.

When I smoked, the last thing I did before getting into bed was have a cigarette... and the first thing in the morning was light one up on the way to the potty.

Today's cigarettes are chemically far worse than the ones we could buy in the 5'50s and '60s - the nicotine content is enhanced, and many additives (even in the filters!) are far more dangerous than when we smoked unfiltered Pall Malls and Lucky Strikes or Camels, when I was a kid and a young adult.

Also, we have SO MUCH MORE POLLUTION - in the air, in the ground, in the water, in the furniture we buy and the carpets that are made of synthetic fibers. And the food absorbs a lot of contaminates from the roots up, while it's growing.

I agree... smoking is not good for any of us, but if 2nd hand smoke (and now 3rd hand smoke??!) is akin to child abuse and manslaughter to our friends, then why are any of us still living? Wouldn't we all have died by now, and solved our over-population problems, to boot?

Britin J.
Past Member 4 years ago

Back before the industrial revolution smoking was a normal occurrence and people didn't suffer from the health issues we have today, could some of it be all the chemicals that have been added to the tobacco? I believe the last count was over 3000. Maybe if someone was smoking a leaf that have been picked and dried directly from the plant it wouldn't be so bad?
I am not advocating smoking here (actually an ex-smoker), just wondering if maybe the chemicals are the problem...

Rosemary G.
Rosemary G.4 years ago

Hellooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, smoking is bad for every living being on this planet.There are absolutely "NO" benefits to smoking except making the Tobacco industry very rich!

Sue Touchette
.4 years ago

I guess I'm dead. That frist smoke is only 2nd to peeing!!

Sameer Tendulkar
Sameer Tendulkar4 years ago


Chris Ray
Chris R.4 years ago

If you're a regular smoker, then when you roll out of bed that's one of the first things you do. That's what I did! Thanks Amelia!~