Vaping helps quitting smokers avoid ‘battle of the bulge,’ say 2 recent studies

There are a couple of major reasons why smokers tend to procrastinate when it comes time to quit.  The first is the mood swings and irritability.  The added stress that comes with trying to quit smoking can be enormous and at times sporadic.  Changes in temperament can seemingly come out of left field and blindside the quitter without notice.  Since many smokers don’t want to risk losing their temper in a business meeting or yelling at the kids for no good reason, many of them postpone quitting. 

The second reason is the weight gain that often comes with this added stress.  For many smokers of a certain age, our metabolism is already playing tricks on us.  When we were in our 20s, we could eat anything we wanted and never gain an ounce.  Now that we are older, just looking at a piece of chocolate cake seems to pack on the pounds.  Luckily, there are two recent studies which indicate that switching to vaping as a tobacco harm reduction tool as smokers attempt to quit can help them quite literally to fight both the battle of the bulge and the terrible mood swings.

The UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies vaping study

A collaborative group of researchers from the UK and New Zealand developed a study which involves the monitoring and evaluating of positive and negative psychological affects that occur as smokers are trying to quit.  The study entitled Could Vaping be a New Weapon in the Battle of the Bulge? is located in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.  

Scientists have known for decades that nicotine acts as a natural appetite suppressant, which is another reason that smokers wanting to quit sometimes procrastinate.  The UK team wanted to put the physical aspects of tobacco withdrawal aside and focus primarily in the mental and emotional aspects as they relate to weight gain.

Related Article:   Vaping nicotine may help patients with mild cognitive impairment, says study

What they discovered is that vaping is a wonderfully effective substitute for smoking that not only significantly reduces the health risks associated with combustible tobacco, it also gives smokers something to do with their hands and mouth. 

The act of smoking is addictive, but for reasons that many smokers many not consciously be aware.  Smokers are just as addicted to the sensations and actions of placing a cigarette to the lips as they are to the toxins and chemicals intentionally included as ingredients in the cigarettes by Big Tobacco – chemicals specifically added to keep smokers hooked.  It’s not the nicotine that kills.  It’s the tar and toxins, which vaping lacks. 

The multitude of e-liquid flavors also help keep the quitting smoker motivated while reducing the chances of relapse.  Even the actions involved with refilling the vape mods with e-juice are beneficial in fighting weight gain because they keep the user’s focus on something other than smoking while also giving them something else to do with their hands.   

“Tobacco smoking mitigates weight gain through nicotine’s effect on the brain and metabolism. The prospect of gaining weight upon stopping smoking acts as an inhibitor to quitting and weight gain post-cessation is a common cause of relapse.”
“You are re-filling the e-liquids, you might be mixing your own liquids, you are trying different flavours, you are doing things with your hands that take up time which means maybe you are not reaching for the bowl of M&Ms.”

The UK research is further supported by a second study from a group of Italian scientists.  Led by Christina Russo of the University of Catalina, this 1-year study followed a group of daily smokers as they transitioned to vaping. 

The Italian vaping study

To qualify for the study, participants had to prove a history of regular smoking for at least 5-years and at an average rate of at least 10-cigarettes per day.   The participants ranged in age from 18 to 70 and were divided into three corresponding categories of low-, medium-, and high-nicotine vapers. 

Meanwhile, a control group of smokers was instructed to quit via the old-fashioned, cold-turkey method or nicotine replacement therapies like “the patch.”  After monitoring for changes in body weight at regular 12-week, 24-week, and 52-week intervals, the Italians determined that the vaping groups gained significantly less weight than the control group of non-vapers.

Furthermore, vapers using the higher nicotine e-liquids tended to gain less weight than the medium and low nicotine vapers.  The Italian research entitled Evaluation of Post Cessation Weight Gain in a 1-Year Randomized Smoking Cessation Trial of Electronic Cigarettes is readily available for review via the online journal Nature.

Related Article: Did you know that vaping is less addictive than FDA-approved NRTs? The FDA does.

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