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Why you shouldn't smoke right after waking up

A new study warns that if you smoke a cigarette right after waking up in the morning, you may be at an increased risk of developing lung or oral cancer.

'We found that smokers who consume cigarettes immediately after waking have higher levels of NNAL a metabolite of the tobacco-specific carcinogen NNK in their blood than smokers who refrain from smoking a half hour or more after waking , regardless of how many cigarettes they smoke per day,' said Steven Branstetter, assistant professor of biobehavioural health in Pennsylvania State University in a leading daily.

Another research points out that NNK induces lung tumours in several rodent species and so levels of NNAL in the blood can predict lung cancer risk in rodents and in humans as well. Since NNAL levels are stable in smokers over time, a single measurement can reflect an individual's exposure accurately.

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'People who smoke sooner after waking inhale more deeply and more thoroughly, which could explain the higher levels of NNAL in their blood,' added Branstetter.

1,945 smoking adult participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey provided urine samples and information about their smoking behaviour how soon they usually smoked after waking up, for analysis of NNAL. This data was examined by Branstetter and his colleague Joshua Muscat, professor of public health sciences.

It was found that about 32% people who were surveyed had their first smoke within 5 minutes of getting up, 31% had it within 6-30 minutes and 18% smoked within 31-60 minutes. Only 19% of people smoked after an hour of waking up.

'Most importantly, we found that NNAL level was highest among people who smoked the soonest upon waking, regardless of the frequency of smoking and other factors that predict NNAL concentrations,' Branstetter said.

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