Blood Pressure - Tobacco, Caffeine, and Cocaine Effects

Tobacco use increases blood pressure. Anyone who smokes makes a big mistake; anyone who has high blood pressure and smokes “squares” the mistake. Smoking all by itself is a major risk factor for every type of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

High blood pressure is also a major risk factor to heart attack and stroke. When you smoke and have high blood pressure, the combined risks for CVD, heart attack, and stroke increase much more than the simple addition of both risks.

Indeed, the risk is a multiple of ten. Saying the risk is squared is probably conservative. Caffeine increases central nervous system activity. The pulse rises slightly, and enough caffeine can make a person feel wired.

However, caffeine’s effect on blood pressure is marginal and doesn’t appear to be long lasting. In short, coffee drinking doesn’t cause high blood pressure, but if you have high blood pressure, it makes sense to follow the Greek teaching of “moderation in all things.”

Caffeine is addictive. If you don’t think you’re addicted, try to stop drinking coffee for a full week. If you make it for two days, your willpower is sufficiently strong to quit altogether. However, you will likely notice typical withdrawal symptoms: anxiety, headaches, and irritability.

These symptoms are similar to those experienced withdrawing from cocaine or heroin; they’re just not as strong. Why not try tea? In contrast to coffee, tea provides the same stimulating effect but has much less caffeine. A cup of tea delivers about 35 milligrams of caffeine.

Compare that to about 100 milligrams for a cup of home-brewed coffee, or 150 milligrams for a cup of coffee sold in a coffeehouse. You could have three cups of tea and not reach the same caffeine level you’d get from one cup of home-brewed coffee.

Besides, if you’re a Type A and want to become a Type B, switching to tea is a great way to start! If you use cocaine, you’re flirting with a heart attack. Cocaine elevates blood pressure.

If you’ve already got high blood pressure, using cocaine and amphetamines is like smoking while standing in a puddle of gasoline. Something very bad is likely to happen.