Q: Does chewing tobacco or licorice raise your blood pressure?
A: Chewing tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, and snuff are all nicotine containing products. The nicotine in the tobacco causes blood vessels to constrict and temporarily increases blood pressure. Blood pressure goes back down once the body has metabolized the nicotine. Artificial or anise flavored licorice candy does not elevate blood pressure. However, candy made from actual licorice root can cause an increase in blood pressure if the substance glycyrrhizin hasn’t been removed. For more information about licorice and other herbs, visit the Memorial Sloan-Kettering website to research herbs here.