Researchers at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, have found from a recent study that there is an acute increase in arterial stiffness after smoking even one cigarette in both chronic and non-smokers. The researchers compared acute and chronic effects of smoking on large artery properties in 185 healthy young smokers and non-smokers aged 22 ± 5 years. 116 non-smokers were compared with 41 chronic smokers with their age, height, weight and sex matched.
The researchers also compared augmentation index, aortic pulse wave velocity and blood pressure in 28 subjects, of whom 11 were chronic smokers, both before smoking one cigarette (nicotine content 1.2 mg.) and 15 minutes afterwards. Applanation tonometry was used to measure the augmentation index, a measure of arterial wave reflection in the aorta. It was found that the brachial blood pressure was not different in chronic smokers and non-smokers, though the aortic systolic blood pressure was higher in chronic smokers (101 ± 8 mm Hg) than in non-smokers (97 ± 9 mm Hg). Augmentation index was also higher in chronic smokers (0.7 ± 13) than in non-smokers (-5.7 ± 14). On the other hand, aortic-brachial pulse pressure amplification was less in chronic smokers (13.7 ± 8 mm Hg) than in non-smokers (17.7 ± 5 mm Hg). These effects were seen in both sexes.
Researchers also said that haemodynamic effects have probably been underestimated in young chronic smokers as this is indicated by higher aortic systolic blood pressure and greater arterial stiffness, in part due to reduced pulse pressure amplification and increased arterial wave reflection. They concluded that smoking significantly and acutely raised brachial blood pressure, aortic blood pressure, augmentation index and pulse wave velocity.