Smoking, alcohol consumption, and leukocyte counts
Blood was collected from 684 healthy volunteers and examined for total and differential white blood cell (WBC) counts. A subgroup also was tested for numbers of T cells, B cells, and CD4 and CD8 subsets. Smoking status and alcohol consumption were determined by means of questionnaire, and smoking status was verified with serum cotinine concentration. High smoking rate was associated with increases in all counts. Former smokers abstinent less than 5 years still demonstrated elevated counts, whereas those abstinent more than 5 years had WBC counts comparable to those in persons who were never smokers. Compared with levels in those who had never smoked, total WBC counts were 27% higher in current smokers and 14% higher in former smokers who were abstinent for less than 5 years. Lymphocyte counts were 9% higher in those consuming more than one alcoholic drink per day than in those consuming less alcohol, but drinking was not associated with other cell populations.