Switching from smoking to vaping helps reduce hypertension, says study

Scientists have known since the 1950s that smoking increases the risks of hypertension, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health disorders.  Smoking narrows the arteries, hardens their interior walls, and reduces the blood’s ability to clot while increasing the heart rate.  Even consistent exposure to second-hand smoke has been shown to increase the chances of being diagnosed with these conditions.  However, new research now indicates that switching from smoking to vaping may significantly improve overall respiratory and cardiovascular health. 

The recent study is co-authored by two of the world’s most accomplished researchers in the field of e-cigarettes.  Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos and Dr. Riccardo Polosa collaborated in a year-long study that culminated in the peer-reviewed paper entitled Effect of continuous smoking reduction and abstinence on blood pressure and heart rate in smokers switching to electronic cigarettes (Internal and Emergency Medicine).

Vaping, nicotine therapies, and cardiovascular health

The Polosa-Farsalinos team began by carefully selecting a group of 211 smoking participants pre-diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension.  All participants were also formerly involved in the 2013 ECLAT study focusing on the documentation of measurable success rates of quitting smoking by transitioning to vaping as a significant tobacco harm reduction tool.

The participants of the Polosa-Farsalinos study were first divided into three separate groups and given either low-, medium-, or high-nicotine e-liquids.  All participants were also given the same brand and model of vaping device, too.  For a full 12-months, the researchers followed the participants’ progress as they made the switch from smoking to vaping.  Those who failed to make a permanent transition or who became dual users were ultimately released from the study, and their associated statistics were never used in the paper’s published findings.

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What the scientists determined is that all remaining participants experienced a reduction in their associated symptoms of hypertension or high blood pressure.  Furthermore, those who vaped the higher-nicotine e-liquids showed significantly greater improvements compared to those in the low-nicotine group.

“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 results of the Polosa-Farsalinos study are further supported by research related to pregnancy-induced hypertension published in 2007 by the Susan and Herman Merinoff Center in New York.  In the latter study, the researchers determined that tobacco-free nicotine therapies can sometimes be very useful in helping to reduce increased heart rates associated with pregnancy.  Meanwhile, scientists around the world and from varying fields of medical expertise are currently researching whether these same nicotine therapies can help patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other chronic and life-threatening ailments. 

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