Vaping reduces high blood pressure in smokers, says research
The medical community has known for decades that smokers tend to be diagnosed with high blood pressure significantly more often than non-smokers. Because of its vasoconstricting properties, the nicotine in combustible tobacco products has been widely assumed to be the reason that so many smokers suffer from hypertension. However, a series of recent studies suggest that nicotine may have some very valuable health effects that were previously unrealized. Scientists now believe that nicotine may improve cognitive memory in Alzheimer’s patients and may even reverse lung damage in asthmatics.
As far back as 2007, research indicates that nicotine consumption shows great promise in reducing the adverse health consequences of pregnancy-induced hypertension. With the recent rise in popularity of vaping in recent years, two world-class scientists set out to determine if switching to electronic cigarettes produces any positive or negative health effects regarding hypertension or other myocardial functions in the general population.
Vaping and high blood pressure
Since the e-liquids in e-cigs lack the estimated 6,000 additional chemicals found in combustible cigarettes but still contain small amounts of nicotine, do vapers suffer from high blood pressure just as much as smokers? This simple question is the basis for a nicotine study conducted by Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos and Dr. Riccardo Polosa.
- Over a 1-year period, Polosa and Farsalinos monitored some 211 vapers, smokers, and dual users to determine their comparable levels of risk related to systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
- Participants were selected from an existing group of volunteers who had previously participated in the 2013 ECLAT study focusing on the measurable success rates of smoking cessation through vaping technology.
- Participants of the vaping group were divided into three primary categories: Low-nicotine, medium-nicotine, and high-nicotine vapers.
- Each of the three primary categories was further divided into additional sub-groupings: Quitters (or only-vapers), Reducers (or dual users), and Failures (smokers who vape less than 50% of the time).
- All vapers used the same cigalike device. Only the nicotine percentages of the e-liquids were different - based on the participants’ pre-assigned category groupings.
- 145 of the participants had already been diagnosed with high blood pressure before the study began.
- Another 66 were also documented to have signs of elevated heart rates.
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What Farsalinos and Polosa discovered is that the vapers with prior diagnoses of high blood pressure experienced improvements in their hypertension-related symptoms that are directly proportional to the low, medium or high nicotine percentages of e-liquids vaped. Meanwhile, participants who were not previously diagnosed with high blood pressure were still symptom-free after 12-months of regular vaping.
“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.”
Farsalinos is highly regarded cardiac physician and scientific researcher from the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Athens, Greece. Dr. Polosa is from the University of Catania, Italy, and is considered an expert in the field of tobacco harm reduction. The collaborative study entitled Effect of continuous smoking reduction and abstinence on blood pressure and heart rate in smokers switching to electronic cigarettes is available via the journal Internal and Emergency Medicine.
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