Debunking the Myths of Smoking Cigarettes and Weight Loss

It has long been a discussion, regarding cigarettes and weight management, as to whether smoking keeps smokers skinny. It seems that those who frequently smoke appear to be skinnier than those who don't, and those who quit appear to gain weight. So, what is the "skinny" on how cigarettes affect our body in terms of our weight? And, does smoking cigarettes help with weight loss?

Appetite Suppressant Qualities

Around 1999, it was noted that cigarette companies began to modify their products to give them appetite suppressant qualities. When a smoker craves food, taking a drag on a cigarette can cause their hunger to disappear. Since the brain considers nicotine and food to be rewards, food cravings can subside when we use nicotine. Nicotine, therefore, causes a decrease in appetite. This is why smokers traditionally report eating 1/2 as much as non-smokers do.

Scientifically, nicotine binds to neuroreceptors and sends signals to our brain that relate to satiety. Additionally, it causes damage to our taste buds which leads to smokers considering food less appealing. And, the use of nicotine generally increases our metabolic rate.

Not only do those who smoke tend to be skinnier, those who quit tend to follow their cessation of smoking with weight gain. On average, smokers weigh 6-10 pounds less than non-smokers. And, in some cases, smoking itself can cause weight gain. When smokers over indulge in the number of cigarettes they use daily, smoking can lead to weight gain. Smoking a lot causes insulin resistance which leads to the storage of fat around the belly.

Quitting smoking often leads to a slower metabolism. Those who are trying to find the will power to resist cigarettes tend to choose food to ease their mind. And, withdrawal from nicotine often leads to choosing sugary snacks to relieve symptoms. This leads to a rise in an individual's blood sugar.

Is It Really Worth the Pounds?

Although fingers point to cigarette use being linked to a lower body weight, the long term negative effects of nicotine on the body really aren't worth the risk. Cigarette smoking is the number one preventable cause of death. Smoking cigarettes can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, stroke, emphysema, chronic pulmonary disease and more! So, although smoking may help you keep off those extra five or ten pounds, and serve as an antidepressant, the risk associated with smoking is nowhere near worth it.

So, while quitting is a difficult feat, there are ways that you can quit smoking and work at keeping yourself from gaining weight.

  • Find non-food feel good methods of satisfying your cravings. Go for a walk or run. Spend time with a friend. Develop a new hobby.
  • This can help manage smoking withdrawal symptoms. While it may be difficult at first, your stamina will increase with time as you gain strength.
  • Join a support group. Sometimes the best way to accomplish a goal is to be accountable to others and to be surround by people who know what you are going through.

Talk to a professional to find ways to keep off the pounds as you quit smoking. Your body and your family will thank you in the long run.

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