Smoking is often touted by those who partake as a way to calm themselves. Of course, from a life insurance standpoint, calm or not, smoking carries so much health baggage with it that rates for smokers are dramatically higher than non smokers.

A recent study suggests that the feeling of calmness may be deceiving as women seem to have a significantly increased risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) if they smoke. Along with that increased risk comes the risk of heart disease.

We have discussed many times that blood pressure and cholesterol are the two most common surprises on insurance exams. Hypertension isn’t called the silent killer for no reason. Especially if it is borderline or mildly elevated, a person may not notice the symptoms, or it may come on over a period of time and it just blends in and a person doesn’t notice anything out of the ordinary.

The good news is that blood pressure is often easily controlled by lifestyle changes, and in the absence of the ability to make that change, also easily controlled with medication. Certainly a change to not smoking is going to have benefits across the board. After 12 months of no nicotine use, life insurance rates can be cut in half or more.

Bottom line. High blood pressure is just one more reason to consider giving up on smoking. The list of health issues connected to smoking is constantly growing. The truth is that there are no benefits to it, only downsides.