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Research indicates switching to vaping helps reduce high blood pressure in smokers

Research dating back as far as the 1960s indicates that smoking increases the risks of hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure.  Smokers tend to exhibit signs of increased heart rates and a gradual narrowing of the arterial walls.  As their arteries progressively harden, the ability of the blood to clot properly also diminishes.  Even regular exposure to second-hand smoke can result in many of these same medical conditions 

However, recent research published by co-authors Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos and Dr. Riccardo Polosa indicates that switching to vaping shows great promise for smokers previously diagnosed with hypertension.  The study entitled Effect of continuous smoking reduction and abstinence on blood pressure and heart rate in smokers switching to electronic cigarettes is readily available through the journal Internal and Emergency Medicine

Overview of the Farsalinos-Polosa vaping study on hypertension

For decades, the medical community has attributed the increased risks of hypertension in smokers to the tar and toxins associated with combustible tobacco leaves.  Since the e-liquids used in vaping are 100 percent tobacco-free, vaping advocates boast that that vaping is a safer and healthier alternative to smoking.

But public health agencies around the world often refuse to officially endorse vaping as a stop-smoking aid, hanging their hat on the catchphrase that “more medical research into vaping is needed.”  Understandably, many physicians are therefore reluctant to endorse vaping to their smoking patients as a safe and effective tool for tobacco harm reduction. 

But this perceived lack of peer-reviewed research by reputable scientists is at least partially due to the fact that the popularity of vaping is still in its infancy stages.  Researchers Farsalinos and Polosa set out to fill in these research gaps by conducting studies of their own.

Related Article:  New Farsalinos survey identifies patterns of modified health behaviors in vapers

The scientists began by soliciting the help of some 211 volunteers categorized into three groups:  smokers, vapers, and dual users.  The vaping and dual user groups were then subdivided into three additional categories based on the nicotine concentration levels of the e-liquids being vaped (low, medium, and high).

Meanwhile, the same cigalike device filled with the same vape juices were given to each vaper.  Only the nicotine percentages were different. 

145 of the original 211 participants had been previously diagnosed with high blood pressure.  The other 66 volunteers showed distinguishable signs of elevated heart rates.  What the Farsalinos-Polosa team discovered is that switching to vaping is not only helpful in reducing the symptoms associated with hypertension, the levels of improvements are directly proportional to the nicotine concentration levels of the e-liquids being vaped.

 “When the same analysis was repeated in 66 subjects with elevated BP at baseline, a substantial reduction in systolic BP was observed at week 52 compared to baseline (132.4 ± 12.0 vs. 141.2 ± 10.5 mmHg, p < 0.001), with a significant effect found for smoking phenotype classification. After adjusting for weight change, gender and age, reduction in systolic BP from baseline at week 52 remains associated significantly with both smoking reduction and smoking abstinence. In conclusion, smokers who reduce or quit smoking by switching to e-cigarettes may lower their systolic BP in the long term, and this reduction is apparent in smokers with elevated BP. The current study adds to the evidence that quitting smoking with the use of e-cigarettes does not lead to higher BP values, and this is independently observed whether e-cigarettes are regularly used or not.”

The Farsalinos-Polosa research is further supported by a 2007 study conducted by the Susan and Herman Merinoff Center in New York which suggests that nicotine therapies may help reduce symptoms related to pregnancy-induced hypertension

Related Article:  Research debunks claims that second-hand vaping increases asthma attacks

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)

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