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Prev Med. 1985 Sep;14(5):607-19.

Factors affecting leukocyte count in healthy adults.


The relationships between white blood cell (WBC) count, smoking, and other health variables were determined among 35,000 apparently healthy men and women. The effect of smoking on the WBC count was greater than that of all other variables. The leukocyte level and the variance in WBC count values increased with increased smoking intensity. The relationship between smoking intensity and leukocyte level is expressed quantitatively by the following regression equation: WBC (10(3)/mm3) = 7.1 + 0.05(SM), where SM has seven values according to the smoking level. Multiple regression analysis with additional variables other than smoking did not much improve the predictive value of the equation. The effect of smoking on WBC count could be only partially explained by an inflammatory process, e.g., chronic bronchitis. Relationships of statistical significance (but mostly with r values of less than 0.10) were found between WBC count and the following variables: hemoglobin, heart rate, weight (or Quetelet index), cholesterol, uric acid, creatinine, sex, ethnic origin, systolic blood pressure, height, blood sugar, and diastolic blood pressure. The normal WBC count range for smokers differs from that of nonsmokers and is shifted to the right according to the smoking level. This may have both a diagnostic and prognostic significance in different clinical settings.

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