Smoking and Body Image Q & A

Does smoking help you lose weight?
  • Smokers do tend to weigh less than nonsmokers – probably because smoking changes the way the body metabolizes (“burns”) food. However, teeth-gumsthis small weight loss comes at a high price: your health, appearance, and feeling of self-control. There are other less costly ways of losing weight.
  • Ironically, smoking leaves you out of breath and makes it harder to exercise. Cigarettes may make you a few pounds lighter, but they don’t make you fitter.

When smokers quit, do they gain weight?

  • Often they do, an average of 2-4 kilograms (4-9 pounds). That’s one reason why people who quit should get regular exercise, such as bicycling, swimming, skating or working out. Another reason is that exercise helps them make it through the withdrawal period. It doesn’t usually take much effort to lose the few kilos they’ve put on during the quitting process.

Does quitting smoking make you want to eat more sweets?

  • Nicotine affects levels of blood sugar (glucose) in the body, so that nicotine withdrawal can trigger a craving for sweets. Sometimes, smokers who are quitting also snack more often to fill the “gap” that cigarettes used to fill. These withdrawal symptoms pass, however.

How does smoking affect your appearance?

  • Nicotine constricts the blood vessels that bring oxygen to the skin. Without enough oxygen, skin ages faster – smokers end up with gray complexions and wrinkles.
  • Smoking stains the teeth and fingers, turning them yellow. The smell of cigarette smoke clings to the hair and clothes, making them smell stale.
  • Smoking also causes bad breath, which the smoker often isn’t even aware of, except perhaps in the morning. “Smoker’s breath” can’t be entirely washed away with mouthwash or chewing gum, because it comes from the old smoke and tars that have accumulated in the lungs.

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Sources:

Stop Smoking, Stay Trim (The Lung Association).

“Smoking, Weight and Appearance: Some Common Questions and Answers” from Facilitator’s Guide: Diary of a Teenage Smoker (Health Canada).

Here is a link which shadows the real nemesis of a smoker. I hope, you will never wish to confront such a horrendous situation:

http://cigarettesmokingkills.com/nicotineandyou.html

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