Stopping smoking, I am told is very difficult. Smoking cessation drugs have increasingly been used but with a printed warning watch out for   “new or worse heart or blood vessel problems”. It is now standard medical practice to automatically administer a smoking cessation drug whenever a smoker is admitted to a hospital. These recognized medication is often needed to help stopping. Commonly used are varenicline (Chantix), bupropion hydrochloride (Zyban), nicotine-replacement therapy (NRT).

This prevailing opinion was put to test by the FDA. They requested a study of over 8,000 participants, it showed no increase in cardiovascular risk – heart attack, stroke, blood pressure, or heart rate over 12 weeks of treatment, 30 days post-treatment, and up to 52 weeks of follow-up in folks on this class of drug.

This finding of ‘no hint of negative effect’ on the heart is critical given smoking dramatically increases cardiovascular risk.