How Smoking Affects the Lymphatic System

Updated July 19, 2017

The lymphatic system is the name given to the system of organs, lymph nodes and lymphatic system ducts that produce and contain lymphocytes, the white blood cells that prevent infection and disease. Smoking can affect this system in a number of ways.

Smoking and Lymphoma

Lymphoma is the cancer of the lymph glands. There are many different kinds of lymphoma. Research has indicated thus far that at least one type, follicular lymphoma, is aided in its growth by tobacco smoking and subsequently often mutated into a more deadly form of lymphoma known as large cell lymphoma.

Smoking and Hodgkin's Disease

Hodgkin's Disease is a particular kind of lymphoma whose cancerous cells possess different characteristics than other types of lymphoma. A 2007 study found that members of a study who identified themselves as having smoked were 40 per cent more likely to acquire Hodgkin's Disease.

Smoking and Leukocytosis

Leukocytosis is the medical term for a high white blood cell count. Smoking is one of several factors that can cause high white blood cell counts. While leukocytosis in itself is not a health problem, scientists from the U.S. National Institute on Aging have published data suggesting a link between leukocytosis and death due to heart disease.

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About the Author

Kathleen Hurst has been a writer and freelance editor since 2007, and has worked for CALYX Press and The Ohio State University Press. She received her Bachelor of Arts in comparative literature from Ohio State University, and currently lives in Seattle.