Clinical Chemistry / Clinical Lab Industry News

C-reactive Protein (CRP) levels and smoking in late adolescence

C-reactive Protein (CRP) levels and smoking in late adolescenceAlthough illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone below the age of 18 within the UK, children are still smoking. By 15 years of age it is reported that 11% are regular smokers, (1). Smoking rates are at their lowest point since records began; however smoking related illnesses and deaths is accountable for approximately 100,000 deaths each year in the UK (2).

A new study published in The Journal of Lipid Research (3) looked at the effects of smoking and the use of the contraceptive pill on c-reactive protein (CRP) levels in both male and female adolescents. At the start of the study the test population of 1,050 adolescents (mean age, 17 +/- 0.25 years) were assessed for anthropometric, lifestyle and metabolic measures.

The relationship between smoking status and log-transformed hs-CRP was examined using multivariable tobit linear regression models, with adjustment for adiposity, lifestyle, and early-life confounders.

To establish the effect that gender, oral contraceptive and smoking had on participants, a three-level variable was employed:

  1. Female adolescents not using Oral Contraceptive
  2. Female adolescents using Oral Contraceptive
  3. Male adolescents

Results indicated that smoking was strongly associated with high levels of hs-CRP in female adolescents not taking the oral contraceptive pill (b=0.571; p=0.001)- group one. However smoking was not associated with those taking oral contraceptive (b= -0.117; p=0.598) or in adolescent males (b=0.183; p=0.2)-groups two and three.

The study indicates that the single strongest factor affecting hs-CRP levels was the use of the oral contraceptive pill in adolescent females who did not smoke. (b=1.189; p<0.001).

The research has shown the robust effect of smoking on hs-CRP levels in adolescent females who are not using oral contraception vs. adolescent females who don’t take oral contraception or adolescent males. This may aid in why CVD risk is higher in women who smoke compared to men.

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References:

1.    Cancer Research: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/types/lung/smoking/lung-cancer-and-smoking-statistics
2.    Estimated Premature Deaths for Each Jurisdiction are as follows: England – 79,100; Scotland – 13,000; Wales – 5,600; N. Ireland – 2,300. Sources: Statistics on smoking: England, 2012 ScotPHO Smoking Ready Reckoner – 2011 Edition (pdf) Welsh Government – Health Improvement NIdirect – smoking
3.    The Journal of Lipid Research http://www.jlr.org/content/early/2014/02/27/jlr.P045369.full.pdf

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