Two groups of 20 healthy volunteers with cigarettes of different tar yield were compared with a group of 20 never smokers over 24 h for several biomarkers. All groups were of similar mean ages and the smokers had smoked for a homogeneous period of approximately 10 yr. The groups were assessed using routine medical parameters as well as biomarkers of recent smoke exposure and other biomarkers that were under evaluation as possible markers of risk for smoking-associated diseases. All biomarkers of exposure-carbon monoxide, nicotine plus its five major metabolites, and 4-(methylnitrosamine)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL)-were significantly elevated in smokers. For biomarkers of potential risk evaluated in the blood, white cells and immunoglobulin (Ig) G showed a decrease related to smoking status (p < .01). Interleukin 6 levels were higher in smoker groups compared to never smokers, with a significant increasing trend across the groups (p < .05). Among the urinary biomarkers studied, 11-deydro-thromboxane B2, 2,3-dinor-thromboxane B2, and thymidine glycol showed significant increasing trends across the groups (p < .01). The results suggest that after the first decade or less of smoking, changes in inflammatory, immunological, and cardiovascular function can be observed. However, further studies on larger groups will be required to better understand the kinetics of these subtle effects observed early in smokers and their relationship with the potential risk of subsequent smoking-associated disease.
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