Dose-dependent toxic effect of cotinine-verified tobacco smoking on systemic inflammation in apparently healthy men and women: A nationwide population-based study

Won Jun Choi, Ji Won Lee, A. Ra Cho, Yong Jae Lee

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Chronic exposure to tobacco smoke leads to chronic low-grade systemic inflammation; however, little is known about the dose-dependent toxic effect of objective tobacco smoking on systemic inflammation. We examined the dose-dependent toxic effect of cotinine-verified tobacco smoking on leukocyte count in a representative sample of Korean adults, including 8655 men and 10,432 women aged 19–65 years from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The participants were categorized into five groups by the level of urine cotinine (Ucot) as follows: A non-smoker group (<50.00 ng/mL) and four quartile groups for smokers for both men and women. The odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for sex-specific high leukocyte count (≥75th percentile) were calculated across five groups of Ucot concentrations using multiple logistic regression analyses. The mean values of leukocyte count gradually increased according to the grade of Ucot concentration in both sexes. The ORs (95% CIs) for high leukocyte count in the 4th Ucot quartile concentrations versus the non-smokers were 4.09 (3.39–4.94) for men and 3.91 (2.82–5.41) for women after adjusting for confounding variables. The present study confirmed the dose-response toxic effect of tobacco smoking on chronic low-grade systemic inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number503
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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