Association between cigarette smoking and C-reactive protein in a representative, population-based sample of adolescents

Nicotine Tob Res. 2008 Mar;10(3):525-32. doi: 10.1080/14622200801901997.


Although related to inflammatory markers in adults, little is known about the association between cigarette smoking and C-reactive protein (CRP) in adolescent smokers. We examined the association between high-sensitivity CRP (hs-CRP) concentrations and smoking in youth. We used data from a cross-sectional, province-wide survey of a representative sample of youth conducted in Quebec, Canada, in 1999. Data were collected in self-report questionnaires completed by participants and their parents. Participants provided a fasting blood sample, and anthropometric measures were undertaken by trained technicians. The present analysis pertains to 1,501 adolescents aged 13 and 16 years who completed questionnaires and for whom blood samples were available. The independent association between a six-category indicator of smoking status and elevated hs-CRP, defined as a value at least in the 90th percentile of the age- and sex-specific CRP distribution, was assessed in multiple logistic regression analyses controlling for potential confounders. Relative to never-smokers, the odds ratios (95% confidence intervals) for puffers (i.e., never smoked a whole cigarette), those who smoked but not in the past month, light past-month smokers, moderate past-month smokers, and heavy past-month smokers were 1.04 (0.55-1.98), 1.76 (1.06-2.94), 1.39 (0.70-2.76), 2.07 (0.96-4.42), and 2.40 (1.18-4.88), respectively. Our data suggest a positive association between smoking status and elevated CRP in adolescents, and in particular among heavier past-month smokers. Damage related to cigarette smoking may begin soon after tobacco use initiation, reinforcing the preventive message that no level of smoking is safe in youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis*
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Quebec / epidemiology
  • Self Concept
  • Smoking / blood*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • C-Reactive Protein