Data from two community studies on men from South Wales and the west of England suggest that the effects of smoking on the haemostatic system remain for many years after giving up. Long term correlations between several variables, including plasma fibrinogen and white cell count, and the length of time after giving up were seen in ex-smokers. Dose response relations were apparent in current smokers in terms of the white cell count and two haematological variables, the packed and mean cell volumes. These long term correlations probably reflect the toxicity of other agents in tobacco smoke besides nicotine and carbon monoxide, which act only in the short term. Identification of these agents may further our understanding of the mechanism by which cigarette smoking is associated with atherosclerotic disease.
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