Research Article

Blood carboxyhaemoglobin, plasma thiocyanate, and cigarette consumption: implications for epidemiological studies in smokers.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 22 May 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:1516
  1. C J Vesey,
  2. Y Saloojee,
  3. P V Cole,
  4. M A Russell


    Carboxyhaemoglobin and plasma thiocyanate concentrations were found to be significantly correlated with self-reported daily cigarette consumption in 360 smokers (r = 0.416 and 0.412 respectively; p less than 0.001). The extent to which inhalation patterns affected the intake of cigarette smoke constituents was determined from the partial correlation between carboxyhaemoglobin and plasma thiocyanate concentrations after the number of cigarettes smoke per day had been allowed for (r = 0.48). Thus 23% of the variation in carboxyhaemoglobin and thiocyanate concentrations was accounted for by the was a cigarette was smoked and a further 21% by the number smoked a day. Furthermore, the relation between carboxyhaemoglobin or plasma thiocyanate and daily cigarette consumption was not linear but reached an asymptote at consumption rates above 25 cigarettes a day. These results suggest that by itself daily cigarette consumption will not identify those smokers most at risk and will also underestimate and dose-response relationship between smoking and selected diseases.