A study on markers of inflammation in smokers and non-smokers shows that it can take several years after smoking for changes in the blood to return to normal. The researchers, Arvind Bakhru and Thomas Erlinger, gathered data on 15,489 US adults between 1988 and 1994 in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They found that the inflammatory markers, C-reactive protein, white blood cell count, albumin, and fibrinogen, took longer to return to normal after smokers quit than did more traditional markers of cardiovascular risk such as total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and systolic blood pressure. However, by five years after quitting the inflammatory response had returned to normal, emphasising that it is well worth smokers quitting.
Citation: Bakhru A, Erlinger TP (2005) Smoking cessation and cardiovascular disease risk factors: Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination survey. PLoS Med 2(6): e160.
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