Did you know that, on average, smokers tend to gain as much as 11 pounds of weight when they eventually manage to kick the habit? If you’re hoping to and, indeed, trying to become an ex-smoker, this may not surprise you. You may already be aware that piling on the pounds following getting free of tobacco is a common occurrence.
But, believe it or not, there may be an answer. Research completed by a group of health-focused academics suggests that vaping may be a way not just to help smokers become ex-smokers, but also ensure they don’t put on weight as they make the transition.
Entitled ‘Could Vaping be a New Weapon in the Battle of the Bulge?’, the article (which you’ll find has been published in the Nicotine & Tobacco Research journal) starts out by making clear that, unfortunately, with the reduction in smoking, obesity rates have climbed. It points out: “Obesity is set to overtake tobacco smoking in many developed countries as the primary preventable cause of conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease … [it’s] a complex condition that is challenging public health prevention efforts”.
Better than NRTs
The thinking that informs the researchers’ findings is that weight gain is reduced by nicotine intake owing to the latter suppressing appetite, while it also increases the body’s metabolic rate. Now, while well established nicotine replacement therapies (NRTs) may go some way to being effective in this area, they believe that vaping has a significant edge here because of the nicotine content use of e-liquid in conjunction with e-cig devices obviously entails – by contrast, nicotine content in pharmaceutical-based NRT products tend to be less successfully satisfying for smokers seeking to quit (which may well also explain why, as statistics suggest, vaping appears to aid them in this practice over NRTs).
Indeed, in an October 2016 interview with The Guardian the research article’s co-author Linda Bauld said: “People can change their nicotine content, so to quit smoking they might start off on a higher strength e-liquid and then they can taper down really quite gradually in a much more sophisticated way than they can with NRT, which is probably good for weight maintenance and for weight loss”.
A favourable role played by flavours?
There’s also the possibility that, owing to their great variety and irresistible flavours, e-liquids might actually operate as alternatives to sweet, calorific snacks – at least to an extent. Admittedly, this claim isn’t compounded by any academic evidence, more based on hearsay. Yet many vapers maintain that the sweet-tasting and sweet/ dessert-mimicking flavours they buy from many a vape shop and so vape all-day, every day, do prevent them snacking on the real things.
Overall, of course, this research is fantastic for the world of vaping; adding proof to the often sullied, even ignored fact that vaping is a great alternative to smoking – precisely because it can help people kick the tobacco habit. As a refreshing break to the use of academic study to discredit vaping as an activity and what it can contribute to society in general, as it seems so often seems to be used (usually to suggest that vaping is a harbinger of doom and practically the same thing – and just as dangerous to one’s healthy – as smoking). So, hats off to these experts and their research’s findings – and let’s hope there’s much more of its ilk to come!