Introduction: Smoking is a major risk factor for a variety of diseases. Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine to the lungs by evaporation of a liquid. Chronic idiopathic neutrophilia is a condition characterized by elevated white blood cell and neutrophil counts without any underlying disease; smoking has been implicated as a potential cause.
Case presentation: A male Caucasian patient, born in 1977, presented in September 2005 with asymptomatic elevation of white blood cell and neutrophil count, and mildly-elevated C-reactive protein levels. He was a smoker since 1996 and was treated with 20 mg/day of simvastatin since 2003 due to hyperlipidemia. Clinical examination, and laboratory and imaging investigations ruled out any infectious, haematological, rheumatological, or endocrine conditions. He was followed-up regularly and was advised to stop smoking. He had 2 unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking; one was unassisted and the second was performed with the use of both varenicline and nicotine replacement therapy (patches). During the subsequent 6.5 years, his leukocyte and C-reactive protein levels were repeatedly elevated; the condition was consistent with chronic idiopathic neutrophilia. In February 2012, he started using electronic cigarettes and he managed to quit smoking within 10 days. After 6 months, laboratory examination showed normalized leukocyte count and C-reactive protein levels, confirmed immediately by a second laboratory and by repeated tests after 1 and 2 months.
Conclusion: Smoking cessation with the use of electronic cigarette led to reversal of chronic idiopathic neutrophilia. The daily use of electronic cigarette may help preserve the beneficial effects of smoking cessation.
Keywords: chronic idiopathic neutrophilia; electronic cigarette; inflammation; smoking; smoking cessation.