Regardless if someone is a light or heavy smoker, the earlier they smoke in the day, the more likely they are to develop lung cancer.
A team of researchers from the National Cancer Institute analyzed questionnaire data from the Environment And Genetics in Lung cancer Etiology (EAGLE) study of current and former smokers in Italy and the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) cancer screening trial in the US. Analysis results published in a recent article from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute focused on one question in particular from the study participants: "How soon after you wake up do you usually smoke your first cigarette of the day?" While the study analysis was adjusted for smoking intensity, duration, and other lung cancer risks, those subjects with a shorter "time to first cigarette" (TTFC), such as smoking within one hour of waking up, the risk of lung cancer was statistically significant. The risk was stronger in current vs. former smokers, and oddly, in lighter vs. heavier smokers if the TTFC was shorter; there was no difference in men vs. women.
While researchers suggest that further screening studies are warranted because it can't prove a direct cause-and-effect relationship, this particular study analysis may help healthcare professionals and researchers better predict who may be at a higher risk of developing lung cancer from smoking by improving the lung cancer screening process. Furthermore, smoking cessation programs may be able to better tailor their programs to help those that light up when they wake up.
Is this a question you are asking your patients when it comes to their smoking history?
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