Smoking Cessation, in Time, Normalizes Stiff Arteries

March 19, 2007

DUBLIN -- Smoking cessation is associated with reduced arterial-wall stiffness, gradually improving the vessels of one-time smokers over a decade to the equivalent of never-smokers.

DUBLIN, March 19 -- Smoking cessation is associated with reduced arterial-wall stiffness, gradually improving the vessels of one-time smokers over a decade to the equivalent of never-smokers, found researchers here.

In a cross-sectional study of 544 patients beginning treatment for hypertension, there was a direct linear relationship between smoking status and arterial stiffness, Noor Ahmed Jatoi, MBBS, of Trinity Health Sciences Center, and colleagues, reported in the Hypertension, Journal of the American Heart Association.

Smokers had the stiffest arteries and patients who had been off tobacco for less than a year were not significantly different, the investigators found. At the same time, those who had never smoked had the most flexible arteries, and those who had quit for more than 10 years were not significantly different from them.

Smokers who had stopped from more than a year but less than 10 had intermediate values on three measures of arterial stiffness -- pulse wave velocity, wave reflection, and transit time, Dr. Jatoi and colleagues found.

Specifically, when all the ex-smokers were considered as a group:

  • Current and ex-smokers had significantly higher pulse wave velocity than non-smokers (P

They called for a prospective longitudinal study to confirm the results.