Many people are aware that nicotine can acutely raise blood pressure. Smoking a cigarette, chewing some tobacco, or using a nicotine vaporizer causes the blood vessels to constrict, which makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. This is what causes high blood pressure.
However, there is much conflicting evidence. Some studies have suggested that smoking doesn’t directly raise your blood pressure, though it still increases the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
Is it possible that both of these conflicting reports are true? That’s what we aim to answer in this short informative article.
Acute Effects of Nicotine on Blood Pressure
One of the problems in identifying the truth of the matter is that many of the studies done on nicotine have focused on smoked nicotine. The method of consumption is important when testing any substance, and the act of smoking itself is known to raise blood pressure.
It has been proven that smoking increases blood pressure for about fifteen minutes. Consumption of nicotine in any way will generally increase blood pressure as well, since nicotine is a powerful stimulant that puts strain on the central nervous system and makes it harder for the heart to pump blood.
However, there is some confusion as to the long-term effects of nicotine on a person’s blood pressure.
Long-Term Effects of Nicotine on Blood Pressure
While nicotine has been shown to increase blood pressure in the short-term, it has also been shown to have a similar effect when a long-term user stops smoking. As a person continues to smoke and develops a tolerance to nicotine, their body becomes accustomed to it. The acute effects become less apparent.
However, when a person stops smoking, their blood pressure tends to increase. Studies have also revealed that frequent blood pressure spikes are more common in people who don’t smoke or have stopped smoking.
Other studies have revealed that smoking can have interesting effects regarding the blood pressure of an unborn fetus. While I would never recommend that anyone smokes cigarettes, especially while pregnant, evidence suggests that nicotine can help to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure) in the fetus. This is likely because nicotine is an anti-inflammatory and, when used in moderation, can actually enhance cardiovascular function.
In fact, regular and moderate use of of nicotine has actually been shown to help reduce blood pressure. Nicotine therapy is healthier than smoking and generally less likely to lead to addiction.
Controversy and Verdict
There is a lot of controversy regarding the effects of nicotine on blood pressure. There are conflicting results in many different studies, and it can be hard to determine the truth.
There are too many variables to be considered for these studies to be entirely accurate. For example, many of the studies were done on workers during office hours, when they hadn’t had a smoke in several hours. A person’s individual tolerance to nicotine will also affect the results of these studies.
All in all, it can be difficult to get consistent results in a clinical trial in this regard. However, most people will notice the effects of increased blood pressure when smoking cigarettes. For example, many people experience a head rush or dizziness when they first smoke cigarettes. This can be a sign of increased blood pressure, as can the increased heart rate that often accompanies nicotine consumption.
While there are inconsistencies in the available evidence, it’s safe to say that nicotine raises blood pressure in acute cases. However, smokeless nicotine can be useful for helping people manage chronic high blood pressure.