The association between smoking quantity and hypertension mediated by inflammation in Chinese current smokers

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Previous studies indicated that cigarette smokers were more likely to develop hypertension, and both smoking and hypertension were associated with inflammation. Whether inflammation mediates the relationship of them is unclear. This study aims to examine whether inflammation mediates the association between smoking and hypertension.


Nine hundred and eighty-four Chinese current smokers from a community-based chronic diseases survey in Guangzhou and Zhuhai were interviewed about sociodemographics, smoking, chronic conditions, and other health-related variables. Hypertension was defined according to 2007 European Society of Hypertension and European Society of Cardiology (ESH-ESC) Practice Guidelines. Inflammatory markers including C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-6, IL-1β, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) were measured by flow cytometry. Logistic regressions were performed to assess the mediation of inflammation on the relationship between smoking quantity and hypertension.


We observed a positive association between smoking quantity and hypertension (P < 0.05). After controlling for potential confounders, daily cigarette consumption was significantly associated with higher level of CRP and VCAM-1 and lower level of TNF-α among six measured inflammatory markers, and the current smokers with hypertension had significantly higher level of MCP-1 and CRP than those smokers who were normotensive. Furthermore, the association between smoking quantity and hypertension was mediated by CRP, which accounted for 58.59% of the estimated causal effect of smoking on hypertension.


We have confirmed previous observations that smoking quantity was positively associated with hypertension, and the results of our study suggested that the association between smoking and hypertension was probably mediated by CRP.

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