Nicotine Addiction Level May Predict Weight Gain in Ex-Smokers

Japanese researchers claim they have proven that tobacco users who are deeply addicted to nicotine are in more danger of weight gain when they try to quit that those who are only lightly addicted to nicotine.

In the August edition of PloS One, Japanese doctors from the Kyoto Medical Center reported that those who quit smoking cold turkey put on, on average, an additional 2.4 pounds over a three month period, despite using nicotine patches or an oral suppressant such as Chantix (varenicline).  Chantix suppresses nicotine craving in the brain.

Researchers discovered that smokers heavily addicted to nicotine were three times more likely to gain weight than smokers whose addiction was considered to be light to moderate.

Such a finding is not a surprise to Dr. Norman Edelman, head medical supervisor for the American Lung Association, who says that nicotine is known to suppress the craving for food while increasing the metabolism.

People know they can control the weight somewhat by smoking, said Edelman.  The more tobacco you inhale the harder it is to maintain your nominal weight when you quit the habit.  Heavy smokers soon become heavy people.

In a surprising twist, the Kyoto doctors found little difference in basal lipid increase between subjects who wore nicotine patches and the ones who ingested varenicline – which is not a nicotine replacement drug, but rather diminishes the effects of nicotine on the brain.