Introduction: Cigarette smoking is one of the main risk factors for the development of cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cardiovascular disease, most of which exhibit an inflammatory component at some stage of their time-course. However, little is known about the early presence of proinflammatory markers in healthy smokers.
Material and methods: We conducted a 16-month, cross-sectional study to determine the presence of inflammatory markers in a group of smokers pronounced in good health after an exhaustive medical exam. Of an initial population of 1,806 smokers and non-smokers who underwent anthropometric, biochemical, radiographic and ultrasound studies plus exercise testing, 317 smokers and 297 non-smokers (the control group) found to have no alterations were ultimately selected and paired by age and gender. Their test data were then compared.
Results: In comparison with non-smokers, smokers showed higher levels of C-reactive protein, hemoglobin, hematocrit, platelets, lipid profile and cardiovascular risk. They also showed lower values of total proteins, albumin and lactic dehydrogenase.
Conclusions: Even though laboratory value results were considered to be within normal range, smokers showed increased levels of prothrombotic and proinflammatory molecules. Therefore, tobacco smoking can be considered an inflammatory syndrome whose final outcome could be one of the many organic disorders that characterize and accompany this entity.