1st Cigarette of the Day 'Worst for Your Health'

      March 30, 2010 07:04

      Smokers say that the first cigarette of the day in the morning tastes the best, but it is also the most damaging to their health. A research team at the Penn State University measured level of nicotine in the urine of 252 smokers, and found out that regardless of how many cigarettes you smoke, the earlier you have your first cigarette, the higher the level of nicotine. The study was published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.

      Park Min-seon, a professor at the Department of Family Medicine at Seoul National University Hospital, said, "In the morning, the sympathetic nervous system is active and your veins contract. If you smoke, the veins will contract even more, and this puts you at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases." "Also, your lung and heart are less ready to move in the morning, and because you did not smoke over night while asleep, your veins react especially sensitively to harmful substances like nicotine and tar, so smoking in the morning has the most damaging impact on the body," Park added.

      There are other reasons. Kim Cheol-hwan, a professor at Inje University Seoul Paik Hospital, said, "Heavier smokers smoke longer time in the morning because you don't get nicotine intake for eight to nine hours while sleeping. This is the reason why smoking in the morning feels much better than at other times and makes it especially difficult to quit."

      In fact, doctors use the time it takes between the moment you wake up and the moment you have the first cigarette of the day as a basis for judging your degree of nicotine addiction. "You are very seriously addicted to nicotine if it takes less than five minutes to light up your first cigarette of the day after you wake up in the morning," Kim said.

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