For some people, one reason for their hesitancy to quit smoking is the fear of gaining weight. Nicotine, which is found in cigarettes and nicotine vaping liquid, is known to be an appetite suppressant and most people find they put on some weight when they quit smoking.
Although smoking can lead to weight loss it’s important to also understand that utilising nicotine to do so is not a safe or healthy way to maintain a healthy weight.
How does vaping (and smoking) affect appetite?
Nicotine found in cigarettes and nicotine vape liquids is a known appetite suppressant for some people. Nicotine has many effects on the nervous system including controlling emotions and motivation, but also regulating our sense of satiety and the release of appetite hormones.
Vaping or smoking may make you less likely to pick up a snack or even be hungry at main meals. Another reason vapers find they might not be so peckish is that both smoking and vaping negatively impacts the taste buds and sense of smell, dulling the pleasure and flavour of foods.
Nicotine also has the effect of increasing the body’s metabolic rate (the amount of energy you use at rest). Vaping nicotine can result in your body burning more calories throughout the day which can lead to weight loss however there are consequences.. Whilst in the long term, people who smoke nicotine are more likely to weigh less than a non-smoker they have a higher ratio of visceral fat, which lies around the organs and contributes to numerous health conditions.
Concerns around vaping and weight loss
Weight loss or appetite suppression from vaping is a side effect – but not a desired outcome. With the rapid and blatant increase in the availability of illegal vapes marketed at teens, misconceptions around vaping and weight loss are especially troubling for teenagers.
Adolescents may be aware of the appetite suppression and weight loss potential associated with vaping nicotine and this may encourage them to take up vaping which would be of concern. Although there have been trials dedicated to investigating the effects of vaping on appetite and weight loss, researchers of this study highlight:
“Messaging regarding potential but unproven effects of vaping on weight control may encourage uptake among groups otherwise unlikely to consider using e-cigarettes, particularly those with high body image concerns (e.g. adolescents).”
Concerns around how vaping negatively impacts the health of teenagers’ brains, are particularly troublesome given the enormity of body image issues amongst teens.
Final thoughts on vaping and weight loss
Using vaping or e-cigarettes as a way to lose weight is not a safe or effective way to manage your weight in the long term. Weight loss can be achieved and sustained with numerous tools, including healthy food choices, physical activity and other medical support where necessary.
But if you’re a smoker who is ready to quit, and the barriers of a nicotine habit and fears of gaining weight are stopping you from finally quitting, speak with your GP or our Help Me Stop team who can assist in helping you transition away from cigarettes