CLL Support Association
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Passive smoking

Hello all,

My father was a heavy smoker and I was subjected to a lot of second hand smoke growing up. Then in

latter years became my Dad's carer. He was house-bound in a wheel chair as a result of losing a leg

due to bad circulation. He kept on smoking in the house so when I went to look after him on a

daily basis, I was again subjected to the smoke. I have read that possibly CLL could be caused by

chemicals/benzine etc.

My father died in 2008 and I was diagnosed with CLL in 2010 even though my lymphocyte count

was a little above normal for a couple of years previously.

My question is, is there anyone else with CLL that could have been affected by second hand smoke.

I guess it's fruitless trying to work out how we have acquired CLL but I am interested in any else

who has been subjected to second hand smoke for a great part of their life. I have never smoked

myself. Thank you.

5 Replies

Surely Parramatta isn't the only one of us that was subject to a lot of second hand smoke for decades prior to developing CLL and suspect that they developed health conditions because of that exposure?

Many, many years ago, I was most surprised to learn that people needing limb amputations were nearly always tobacco smokers and that smoking was the relatively little known cause of the gangrene (from lack of blood circulation) that resulted in them losing their limb(s). (Lung cancer and heart disease were well known by then for the strong link with smoking.)

Parramatta, was your father ever diagnosed with Buerger's Disease or told that smoking was the probable cause of him losing his leg?

Buerger's Disease - from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

"Almost everyone with Buerger’s disease smokes cigarettes. However, Buerger’s disease can occur in people who use other forms of tobacco, like chewing tobacco. People who smoke 1½ packs a day or more are most likely to develop Buerger's disease."


1 like

I think you hit the nail on the head Parramatta when you say it's fruitless trying to work out how we acquired CLL and as someone who was also subject to a significant amount of second hand smoke, I could speculate that it caused or contributed to it. But I'll never know. And I'd almost feel guilty attributing my condition to any family member because in reality, decades ago, I just don't think people realised the personal or passive dangers. It was almost the 'done' thing. I can remember working in an office with chain smokers and I could almost cut the smoke, it was so dense!

I'm just so relieved that there has been recognition and legislation now to protect people in public places.

The link Neil mentions is very interesting. Was your father perhaps diabetic too? It's well known that smoking further aggravates peripheral neuropathy and hence circulation.

I don't want to go into too many personally identifiable details on an unrestricted post however. Perhaps this has inhibited posters a little due to the subject matter?

Best wishes,



Thanks for your response Newdawn. Yes my father had type 2

diabetes, which didn't help his situation so that coupled with

the heavy smoking over the years was the reason why he lost

his leg.


Thank you AussieNeil for your response. My father didn't have Buerger's

disease. He had a 4/way bypass in 1991 and was told to give up smoking

then, and the Doctor said to him, "I've done a lot of plumbing on you"

and so he kept on smoking, and as a result lost his leg in 1998.


Nicotine is extremely addictive, so presumably it was very hard for your father to quit. I've heard my smoking friends say they have no trouble quitting smoking - they've done it plenty of times! Doesn't help those that are subjected to passive smoking or to see loved ones' health decline though...


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