Vaping and Blood Pressure
We have known for a very long time that smoking cigarettes increases the chances of developing heart disease and cancer. Similarly, we know that along with high cholesterol and high salt intake, smoking is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure (also known as; hypertension). This article will explore whether vaping can raise or even cause high blood pressure.
How does smoking cigarettes cause high blood pressure?
Before discussing whether vaping can affect your blood pressure, let’s explore how tobacco smoking can lead to higher blood pressure. Even people who smoke fewer than five cigarettes per day can show early signs of cardiovascular disease.
Tobacco smoke is incredibly harmful to your health. There’s no safe way to smoke and no safe level of smoking. According to the American Lung Association, cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients; when these ingredients burn, they generate more than 7,000 chemicals.
Within the first ten seconds of your first puff, the toxic chemicals contained within tobacco smoke will have immediate effects on your body, such as increasing your blood pressure. Long-term use can damage your heart by forcing it to work faster and harder, slow your blood, and reduce oxygen to your feet and hands.
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The primary concern is associated with toxic chemicals such as; carbon monoxide and other oxidising chemicals, which lead to further cardiovascular complications
Carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas, makes it hard for your muscles and organs to function. This is because it reduces the amount of oxygen in your body by binding to hemoglobin, the molecule in your blood that carries oxygen. When carbon monoxide is bound to hemoglobin, oxygen cannot bind. This decreases the amount of oxygen delivered to all of your cells.
Other oxidising chemicals affect your entire vascular system, as they interact and cause inflammation to the vascular muscles and blood vessels, which causes them to stiffen over time. What’s worse is that these oxidising chemicals can interact with cholesterol, leading to a build-up of fatty material on your arterial walls.
The effects of smoking build up over time and can lead to:
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of the blood vessels, and build-up of fatty deposits);
- Coronary Heart Disease (blocked blood vessels);
- Stroke (blood flow interruption to the brain);
- Peripheral Arterial Disease (narrowing arm and leg blood vessels); and worse,
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (enlargement of the aorta which can be life-threatening if it bursts).
Does Vaping cause high blood pressure?
“Vaping”, if you don’t already know, involves inhaling the aerosol produced by an e-cigarette, a battery-powered device that heats a nicotine-containing liquid. While e-cigarettes are not 100% safe, they are significantly less harmful than the toxic effects of tobacco smoke and the thousands of harmful chemicals it contains.
However, if vaping is considered and prescribed as part of your smoking cessation therapy, there is a high likelihood it will contain nicotine which is a stimulant. As a stimulant, nicotine will create short-term increases in blood pressure and arterial stiffness. As noted above, these effects are responsible for negative changes to the heart and arteries over the long term.
For anyone that currently smokes, you will always be better off vaping as opposed to smoking. That said, the guidance of your doctor, and a thorough understanding of your current health situation with regards to blood pressure and potential COPD progression, will help you understand the risks of continuing to use nicotine in the longer term, absent of smoking.
So if you are a smoker who is wondering, does vaping cause high blood pressure? The short answer is, it is nicotine itself that causes short-term increases in blood pressure and heart rate. The bigger question should be, when choosing to consume nicotine, what will cause more harm overall, smoking or vaping? The answer will always be smoking, and the sooner you can quit smoking, the better. Of course, if you quit smoking with vaping, you may be one step closer to quitting nicotine altogether.
If you have questions about quitting smoking, vaping or nicotine, Smokefree Clinic provides bulk-billed access to a team of Authorised Prescribers of nicotine, who can answer your questions and provide you with a bulk-billed nicotine vaping prescription if deemed appropriate. Click here to get started.