Effect of Smoking on Blood Pressure and Resting Heart Rate - A Mendelian Randomization Meta-Analysis in the CARTA Consortium

A. Linneberg, R.K. Jacobsen, T. Skaaby, A.E. Taylor, M.E. Fluharty, J. Jeppesen, J.H. Bjorngaard, B.O. Asvold, M.E. Gabrielsen, A. Campbell, R.E. Marioni, M. Kumari, P. Marques-Vidal, M. Kaakinen, A. Cavadino, I. Postmus, T.S. Ahluwalia, S.G. Wannamethee, J. Lahti, K. RäikkönenA. Palotie, A. Wong, C. Dalgard, I. Ford, Y. Ben-Shlomo, L. Christiansen, K.O. Kyvik, D Kuh, J.G. Eriksson, P.H. Whincup, H. Mbarek, E.J.C. de Geus, J.M. Vink, D.I. Boomsma, G. Davey Smith, D.A. Lawlor, A. Kisialiou, A. McConnachie, S. Padmanabhan, J.W. Jukema, C. Power, E. Hyppönen, M. Preisig, G. Waeber, P. Vollenweider, T. Korhonen, T. Laatikainen, V. Salomaa, J. Kaprio, M. Kivimaki, B.H. Smith, C. Hayward, T.I.A. Sorensen, B.H. Thuesen, N. Sattar, R.W. Morris, P.R. Romundstad, M. Munafò, M.R. Jarvelin, L.L.N. Husemoen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background-Smoking is an important cardiovascular disease risk factor, but the mechanisms linking smoking to blood pressure are poorly understood. Methods and Results-Data on 141 317 participants (62 666 never, 40 669 former, 37 982 current smokers) from 23 population-based studies were included in observational and Mendelian randomization meta-analyses of the associations of smoking status and smoking heaviness with systolic and diastolic blood pressure, hypertension, and resting heart rate. For the Mendelian randomization analyses, a genetic variant rs16969968/rs1051730 was used as a proxy for smoking heaviness in current smokers. In observational analyses, current as compared with never smoking was associated with lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure and lower hypertension risk, but with higher resting heart rate. In observational analyses among current smokers, 1 cigarette/day higher level of smoking heaviness was associated with higher (0.21 bpm; 95% confidence interval 0.19; 0.24) resting heart rate and slightly higher diastolic blood pressure (0.05 mm Hg; 95% confidence interval 0.02; 0.08) and systolic blood pressure (0.08 mm Hg; 95% confidence interval 0.03; 0.13). However, in Mendelian randomization analyses among current smokers, although each smoking increasing allele of rs16969968/rs1051730 was associated with higher resting heart rate (0.36 bpm/allele; 95% confidence interval 0.18; 0.54), there was no strong association with diastolic blood pressure, systolic blood pressure, or hypertension. This would suggest a 7 bpm higher heart rate in those who smoke 20 cigarettes/day. Conclusions-This Mendelian randomization meta-analysis supports a causal association of smoking heaviness with higher level of resting heart rate, but not with blood pressure. These findings suggest that part of the cardiovascular risk of smoking may operate through increasing resting heart rate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)832-841
Number of pages10
JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular genetics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cohort Studies

  • Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)


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