Scientific Evidence Portal
Effects of smoking cessation on changes in blood pressure and incidence of hypertension : a 4-year follow-up study | Lee DH, Ha MH, Kim JR, Jacobs DR Jr.
Article Published: 2001
Risk: <1 [year], 1 to 3 [years], and >/=3 years were 0.6 (95% CI 0.2 to 1.9), 1.5 (95% CI 0.8 to 2.8), and 3.5 (95% CI 1.7 to 7.4), respectively
Funding Source: N/A
Significance: Statistically Significant Positive
Published By: Hypertension 2001 Feb;37(2):194-8
Further Information This study reports that those who have believed antismoking propaganda and have quit smoking suffer high blood pressure and hypertension when compared with current smokers.
The data shows:
“The adjusted relative risks of hypertension in those who had quit smoking for <1 [year], 1 to 3 [years], and >/=3 years were 0.6 (95% CI 0.2 to 1.9), 1.5 (95% CI 0.8 to 2.8), and 3.5 (95% CI 1.7 to 7.4), respectively, compared with current smokers.”
That seems to indicate that, the longer you have quit, the greater the risk becomes.
“The trends for increased risk of hypertension for longer periods of smoking cessation were observed in subgroups of those who maintained weight as well as those who gained weight after smoking cessation. The adjusted increments in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure were higher in those who had quit for >/=1 year than in current smokers. These trends among weight losers, as well as gainers and maintainers, were similar. We observed progressive increases in blood pressure with the prolongation of cessation in men…”
“This study implies that the cessation of smoking may result in increases in blood pressure, hypertension, or both.”
The final words of the study, however, must contain the ideological and paternalistic statements that are indispensable for publication, and to avoid serious political repercussions from the pharmaceutical/antismoking power points: “However, this finding should not distract from the well-known harmful effects of cigarette smoking, nor should it encourage smoking.”
Perhaps it should not influence one's choice to smoke. It is based in part on epidemiological questionnaires regarding smoking history. The questions are simpler than with many studies. Here they've asked: do you now, did you quit, if so when? Responses to these simple matter-of-fact questions may have been generally truthful or accurate but statistics are never "proof of causation." That's what the antitobacco researchers say when they like their results. Of course the blood pressure readings, if taken in an objective manner, are objective measurements. They don't like those results. Objective and measurable observations contradict the antismoking ideology almost all the time. In this climate of witch hunt and quasi-religious intimidation, therefore, the political words of the last paragraph need decoding. The researchers sure cannot say “don’t quit smoking” — heresy! — but they don’t say that you should quit either.