Smoke Cigarettes to Manage Your Weight?

by Chris Chew

Posted on Tuesday 28th of October 2008

Ok, this may sound very ridiculous to you but many teenage girls and even adults for that matter actually believe that smoking cigarettes can help them stay slim and slender, so that they won't put on extra weight.

Yes, you read that sentence correctly. It is because of this belief that is stopping many young women from quitting smoking.

Controlled studies showed that a third of young female smokers viewed weight gain as a reason not to quit smoking.

For instance, Pauline, an attractive slim 23 year old said, "I have a tendency to eat more food when I don't smoke, especially "sinful" food like candy, chocolate and junk food. The last time I tried to quit smoking, I gained about 8 pounds in 8 weeks. I don't worry about the health risks for being a smoker as I am still young, however, I can see the link with my weight immediately. So I continue smoking to maintain my body weight."

So is there a proven link between smoking and weight control? Well, the researchers found that smokers are just likely to put on weight as non-smokers. Like everyone else, smokers come in all shapes and sizes. As a matter of fact, it was found that those who are slightly overweight are the ones smoking the most.

So is it a mistake for young women to take up smoking in the belief that smoking will help them manage their weight and to stay slender?

It is now a known fact that whether you smoke or not does not really matter as far as putting on weight is concerned. It is that people have the tendency to put on weight when they quit smoking.

This is what Dr Chris Steele, a British general practitioner and the resident doctor on the popular UK TV show, This Morning said, "About one third of people gain quite a lot of weight when they give up smoking. Another third gain a small amount of weight and another third don't put on any weight at all." Dr Steele runs smoker's clinic for more than 3 decades and has lectured all over the world.

So the question is then why do people gain weight when they quit smoking? According to Dr Steele, Nicotine suppresses the appetite and increases the metabolic rate. Furthermore, an average female smoker puts a cigarette into her mouth about 200 times a day and so while she is doing that, she can't snack or eat. Thus smoking is a way of curtailing putting food into the mouth.

He added that most smokers light up a cigarette after a meal. The nicotine then delays gastric-emptying of the stomach making the food stay in the stomach longer making the smoker feeling full longer and thus relieving the urge to snack in between meals. So when a person quit smoking, the stomach empties more quickly. Thus the temptation of snacking between meals becomes much more apparent.

Although people may gain weight when they quit smoking, smoking itself does not cause weight loss. Therefore taking up smoking will not help you to stay slim.

As for smokers who do not want to quit because they fear that they will put on weight, Dr Steel offers this advise. "People should realize that continuing to smoke is a very dangerous way of maintaining weight. Furthermore, it is only helpful in about 30% of cases. If you smoke 20 sticks a day, you are spending 60 to 100 minutes each day smoking. So why not devote that time to exercising for weight maintenance instead?"

That certainly is a better idea than smoking your life away, don't you think so?

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