Background: Tobacco smoking has been associated with cardiovascular risk factors including adverse serum lipid levels, central obesity and higher resting heart rate, but lower blood pressure and body mass index (BMI). We used a Mendelian randomization approach to study whether these associations may be causal. If smoking affects cardiovascular risk factors then rs1051730 T alleles, predictors of increased smoking quantity, should be associated with cardiovascular risk factors among smokers, but not among never smokers.
Methods: Among 56,625 participants of a population-based study, we estimated associations of rs1051730 T alleles with cardiovascular risk factors and examined whether the associations differed by smoking status.
Results: Rs1051730 T alleles were associated with lower BMI and waist and hip circumferences and higher resting heart rate and estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and the associations were strongest among current smokers (P interaction 5×10(-9) to 0.01). Rs1051730 T alleles were associated with lower systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure and higher HDL cholesterol concentrations, but these associations did not robustly differ by smoking status. There were no convincing associations of rs1051730 T alleles with waist-hip ratio, diastolic blood pressure and non-fasting serum concentrations of non-HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose and C-reactive protein.
Conclusions: This Mendelian randomization analysis provides evidence that smoking may cause lower BMI and waist and hip circumferences and higher resting heart rate and eGFR. The findings further suggest that smoking is not a major determinant of waist-hip ratio or adverse blood pressure, serum lipid or glucose levels.
Keywords: Smoking; blood pressure; body mass index; cholesterol; glomerular filtration rate; heart rate.
© The Author 2014; all rights reserved. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Epidemiological Association.