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New study shows vaping helps ex-smokers fight ‘battle of the bulge’

Posted by Matt Rowland on

Scientists from New Zealand and Stirling recently published a new study in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research indicating that vaping can help smokers trying to quit from gaining weight.  For anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking, the addiction is as much to the smoked tobacco “high” as it is to the oral gratification of placing the cigarettes to the lips.  When smokers try to quit smoking, they also tend to substitute food for the cigarettes which packs on the pounds.

The authors of this new study suggest that the variety of flavored e-liquids helps smokers reduce their cravings for certain foods. Furthermore, the process of filling the electronic cigarette or vaping device with e-liquid throughout the day also diminishes the urge to eat.

After all, smokers who are in the process of quitting don’t necessarily eat because they are hungry.  They are just so used to putting something in their mouths – namely, a cigarette – twenty or so times per day that they toss in a cookie or a handful of candy to satisfy their craving for a cigarette.

“You are re-filling the e-liquids, you might be mixing your own liquids, you are trying different flavours, you are doing things with your hands that take up time which means maybe you are not reaching for the bowl of M&Ms,” says Co-Author Linda Bauld, Deputy Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and professor of health policy at the University of Stirling.

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Gaining weight and quitting smoking

The basis of the study considered a range of explorative areas including the effects and influences of nicotine on the smoker’s body and senses of taste and smell.  It also studied how nicotine positively or negatively affects the smoker’s sense of stomach fullness throughout the day.  As many current and former smokers can attest, there is nothing quite as enjoyable as that very first cigarette directly after a wonderful meal.  The scientists question if ex-smokers tend to eat longer at the dinner table when that option for a cigarette is taken away.

“One of the things this paper says is [that] probably we shouldn’t be so worried about longer-term nicotine use, particularly if it can help people not put on weight - which we know is a bit risk factor for diabetes and a lot of other things,” Bauld also stated.

The researchers are also quick to note that vaping and e-cigs should not be used as a form of dietary supplement for non-smokers to shed a few extra pounds.  Vaping and e-cigs are not appetite suppressants, but they can be a very useful tool for current smokers trying to quit who are afraid of gaining weight.

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Too many smokers put off quitting for fear of gaining a few extra pounds.  This study tries to show that e-cigs might be the perfect solution to the age-old question:  “Should I quit smoking and get fat?  Or keep smoking and stay thin?”  Amanda Sandford from the UK’s Action on Smoking and Health seems to agree with the paper’s findings.

“The risk of putting on weight when quitting smoking is a common concern and can discourage smokers from trying to stop. E-cigarettes are a safer alternative to tobacco and if they can also help people avoid piling on the pounds as well as helping them to stop smoking that is a real bonus." 

The complete scientific study along with its findings can be found on the online journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

(Related Article:  NEW FDA DEEMING RULE PROPOSED: CLINICAL TRIALS FOR E-CIGARETTES)


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