Stopping smoking to lower blood pressure

Jade Kirke Jade Kirke Physiology Programme Lead
Physiology Programme Lead Jade Kirke explains the impact of smoking and vaping on blood pressure, along with some tips on how to quit.

The impact of smoking

Each cigarette that is smoked can trigger a temporary rise in blood pressure for up to 30 minutes. Therefore, when smoking regularly throughout the day, blood pressure could rise again and again.

Smoking can also damage your blood vessel walls and cause fat to build up in your arteries, which can ultimately lead to a heart attack or stroke.

What about vaping?

Vaping is the inhaling of a vapour created by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) and has become a popular method for stopping smoking cigarettes.

The impact of vaping on health is still a relatively new area of research, however, vaping with nicotine e-cigarettes has been shown to cause a rise in blood pressure for up to 30 minutes, as well as damaging blood vessel walls.

While there isn't as much supporting literature that nicotine-free e-cigarettes causes elevated blood pressure, they can still by harmful to your body’s blood vessels.

Tips for quitting smoking

  • Know why you want to stop: Stopping smoking is one of the best ways to improve your health but list your own reasons for stopping
  • Be accountable: Tell people that you are going to stop smoking and mark a date in your calendar when you plan to do this by
  • Seek professional support: If needed, speak to your GP or an NHS stop smoking adviser for advice on stop smoking aids and available support for stopping smoking
  • Exercise regularly: Maintain regular exercise, because this may reduce your cravings for smoking during the activity and up to 50 minutes after
  • Known your triggers: List what increases your desire to smoke and how to avoid it
  • Consider the CBQ method: Nasia Davos’ Cognitive Behavioural Quitting method removes your desire for cigarettes before you actually stop smoking:
    • Stage 1: Choose to quit – make a real decision, understand your addiction, and commit to quitting smoking
    • Stage 2: Change your mindset – change how you think about smoking and overcome the emotional barriers and fears that stop you from succeeding
    • Stage 3: Change your smoking pattern – break your smoking habit, remove the desire to smoke and smoke your last cigarette without feeling deprived
    • Stage 4: Condition your smoke-free life – protect your success, adjust to your smoke-free life, and remain a happy non-smoker without gaining weight.


CBQ Method (2021). CBQ Method. [online] CBQ Method. Available at:

Omboni, S., 2020. Smoking and hypertension: what is behind the mask?. Journal of Hypertension, 38(6), pp.1029–1030.

Crippa, G., Bergonzi, M., Bravi, E., Balordi, V. and Cassi, A., 2018. Effect of electronic cigarette smoking on blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Evaluation by non-invasive continuous ambulatory blood pressure measurement. Journal of Hypertension, 36, p.e4.

Papaioannou, T.G., Aggeli, C. and Tousoulis, D., 2019. Does Nicotine-free Electronic Cigarette Vaping Affect Aortic Stiffness Independently of Heart Rate?. Radiology, 293(3), pp.725–726.

Caporale, A., Langham, M.C., Guo, W., Johncola, A., Chatterjee, S. and Wehrli, F.W., 2019. Acute effects of electronic cigarette aerosol inhalation on vascular function detected at quantitative MRI. Radiology, 293(1), pp.97–106.

Last updated Thursday 5 October 2023

First published on Friday 5 May 2023