Smoking and High Blood Pressure

woman breaking a cigarette with her hands

Does smoking increase your high blood pressure risk?

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Smoking is a risk factor for high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack and stroke.

Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke increase the risk for the buildup of plaque inside the arteries called atherosclerosis. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is known to speed up this process. Blood pressure increases in the short term every time you smoke.

Why you should quit smoking

You should avoid all forms of tobacco as well as secondhand smoke.  This can reduce your risk for heart attack and stroke. It also can improve your overall health.

Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of health problems. The earlier you quit, the greater the benefit. Some immediate benefits of quitting include:

  • Lower heart rate and blood pressure
  • Less carbon monoxide in the blood (carbon monoxide reduces the blood's ability to carry oxygen)
  • Better circulation
  • Less coughing and wheezing

Read these fact sheets:

Read about more risks and how to quit smoking.