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Cigarette smoking for weight loss is a practice dating to early knowledge of nicotine as an appetite suppressant.Tobacco use was associated with appetite suppression among pre-Columbian indigenous Americans and old world Europeans.For decades, tobacco companies have employed these connections between slimness and smoking in their advertisements, mainly in brands and advertisements targeting women.
Age may act as a compounding factor in some of these studies.
Essentially, a causal relationship has not been explicitly established between physiological effects of nicotine and epidemiological findings about weight among smokers and nonsmokers.
While most adults do not smoke for weight control, studies have shown that associations between tobacco use, being thin and desire for weight control do influence adolescents in terms of smoking behavior.
While it is unclear how many people begin or continue smoking because of weight concerns, research reveals that white female adolescents with established weight-related anxieties are particularly prone to initiate smoking.
Although knowledge of nicotine’s effects upon the appetite can contribute to people smoking for weight control purposes, studies have not shown that people smoke exclusively to maintain or lose weight.
Nicotine could reduce appetite and influence an individual’s eating habits.
A study on nicotine’s effects on appetite demonstrated that “net effects of nicotine include elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and gastric motility while eliciting a sustained decrease in food intake.
Autonomic, sensory, and enteric neurons each constitute potentially important loci for nicotine-mediated changes in feeding behavior.” Thus the cultural associations between smoking and weight control in part reflect the body’s physiological reactions to nicotine.
Nicotine gum has similar effects to cigarettes in terms of appetite suppression, and there are some people who do not smoke, but use nicotine gum for the purpose of weight control or weight loss.