In a recent study carried out by the journal Cancer, it found that smoking within 30 minutes of waking up, doubles the risk of lung cancer.
The study of more than 7,610 smokers carried out by Penn State College of Medicine scientists found that the early morning nature of the act of smoking may cause smokers to inhale smoke more deeply and therefore increase the exposure and risk. By looking at 4,776 smokers with lung cancer and 2,835 smokers without cancer they discovered that those that smoked soon after getting up were 79% more likely to develop cancer, no matter how many cigarettes someone smoked through the course of the day.
The research suggests that smokers who fail to refrain from smoking within half an hour of waking have higher levels of nicotine and possibly other tobacco toxins in their body. Furthermore, smoking within 30 minutes of waking is likely to indicate or result in a greater level of addiction.
So how do you break the habit?
Smoking in itself is the biggest cancer risk. It is thought to cause a quarter of all cancers and approximately 1 in 10 smokers die of lung cancer. Though there are other risk factors that you cannot avoid. Here are the top 5 cancer risk factors:
- Chemical carcinogens – Tobacco smoke, asbestos, benzene, radiation.
- Lifestyle – alcohol abuse, obesity, lack of exercise
- Age – most cancers appear in older people. As cells get damaged over time and the immune system degrades, cancers find it easier to develop.
- Infection – Some viruses such as Hepatitis B and C increase the risk of developing cancer.
- Genetics – Some kinds of cancer are associated with an inherent genetic link. Breast cancer for example is often inherited.
There are a multitude different remedies for stopping smoking, from the nicotine patch to an elastic band wrapped round the wrist for snapping as punishment when you think about smoking. The best way to break the habit however, is to find what works for you. You just have to do something. Make any kind of positive move and try to find someone who will support you though it is a good start.
You can always trust your GP
One big problem that smokers face is that even why they try to make these positive moves to quit, they find that all their friends and family still smoke and they are often tempted to slip up. In this situation, it can be a good idea to visit your doctor, both for moral support and for them to put you in touch with a nurse who specialises in helping you stop smoking. Theses nurses will be available for you to contact for support and advice while you are on the road to recovery and will always have data on the statistical risks as well as practical advice to keep your head in the right place.
But for now, if you are a smoker, the best thing you can do is to abstain from smoking for at least the first hour of the day. This will cut your risk of developing cancer by 50% and hopefully set you on a course for quitting completely one day.
Kevin Gallagher is an ex-smoker. He believes that all NHS nursing jobs and nursing jobs in London should involve some kind of anti-smoking role as it was an NHS nurse who helped him to quit.