Weight gain, a reason for smokers to kick the habit

The Med Guru
27 January 2009

Smoking is known to suppress appetite and to control weight. Suoma Saarni a researcher from the University of Helsinki, clearly refutes this fact.

According to him smoking, at least in teenagers, strongly promotes the development of abdominal obesity, the dangerous fat that leads to diabetes, dysplipidemia and heart disease.

Saarni followed almost 4,300 Finnish twins who were born between 1975 and 1979. They were studied at four points between the ages 16 and 27 years. Half of the participants had never smoked, and 12 percent were former smokers in adolescence. About 15.5 percent of men and 9.4 percent of women smoked at least 10 cigarettes daily.

Analyzing the effect of adolescent smoking, Saarni and his colleagues found that smoking at least 10 cigarettes daily when aged 16 to 18 years increased the risk of abdominal obesity by around 30 percent for all participants. However, for women, the risk of becoming overweight was almost 75 percent higher. Nearly 35 percent of the women who had been heavy smokers were fat around the middle, compared to about 22 percent of those who never smoked. The difference was comparatively smaller in men.

Saarni said that the difference between the sexes could be either biological or cultural. Biologically, it might be that tobacco and gender specific hormonesdefine interact differently in girls and boys in ways that affect appetite and fat distribution.

Saarni declared that the study was the first to link weight gain and smoking. Though there is no clear evidence that smoking was directly linked to obesity, Dr. Suoma Saarni, felt “It is very important for teens with heavy smoking habit to remember this point that smoking leads to obesity in later life”

The findings were viewed with a lot of skepticism by American experts. Smoking has long been linked to thinness, not obesity, and people who stop smoking often gain weight. Many teens and women use smoking as a weight-loss tool.

Sherry Pagoto, assistant professor in clinical psychology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School said, “My hunch is that women are more likely to smoke for weight control, especially in adolescence. When people do quit smoking, one of the reasons they gain weight is that they increase their consumption of foods. They’ll start snacking at the times they used to smoke.”

Michael Siegel, professor at Boston University School of Public Health did not find a direct link. According to him, "Smokers tend to have a constellation of poor health habits, including poorer diet and less physical activity. It is most likely that these factors, and not the smoking itself, is causing them to become obese."

A need for further research was felt by most experts. The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

 The findings in the research from the American Journal of Public Health are very interesting as weight gain is usually associated with people who quit smoking, substituting food for cigarettes.  Teenage smokers should take note of the research, as obesity and smoking are two of the major factors in reducing life spans.  During each hypnosis session to quit smoking at the Harley Street Stop Smoking Clinic, experienced hypnotherapists address the issues surrounding stopping smoking, and weight gain is especially important for women quitting smoking.  Leading smoking cessation specialists are employed at the London clinic, who have developed a unique form of advanced hypnosis to help smokers quit smoking.  Hypnotherapy is fast, easy and 100% natural.  It is proven to beat all other smoking cessation products.  Speak to one of our trained hypnotherapists today at The Harley Street Stop Smoking Clinic in London.

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Reference link: http://www.themedguru.com/articles/weight_gain_a_reason_for_smokers_to_kick_the_habit-86120309.html