All Things Being Equal
The idea that vaping can lead to weight gain is a popular misconception that has remained persistent despite the evidence to the contrary. This misunderstanding is linked to the idea that quitting smoking can lead to weight gain because nicotine makes people feel less hungry as well as reducing the desire for sugary foods. Smoking has also been shown to increase the metabolism, so quitting smoking reduces the metabolism which can make it easier for people to gain weight.
Quitting smoking can lead to weight gain, but this isn’t true for everyone and is affected by a variety of factors. So, does this mean that vaping has nothing to do with weight gain? Answering this question is a little more difficult than you might expect because there is debate on exactly how vaping influences weight.
Some have argued that vaping actually helps former smokers control their weight by counteracting the effects of giving up nicotine. Using e-liquids that contain nicotine means that there is no sudden change in metabolism when giving up smoking. Vaping also helps satisfy the hand-to-mouth habit that many smokers develop and sometimes try to satisfy with food after quitting.
Take a look at the ingredients in any e-liquid and it’s easy to see that there is nothing in your juices that will cause weight gain. E-liquids do contain a small number of calories, but this amount is tiny and the vapour is inhaled, not taken into the stomach.
So, it is possible that vaping can help us maintain our weight when quitting smoking, or even lose weight. But there is plenty of contradictory opinions on the subject and it is easy to see how rumours and misconceptions can get started.
Nicotine As A Suppressant
When nicotine is absorbed into the body, it causes the release of various chemicals in the brain, including dopamine, suppressing the natural desire for food. This effect is different for everyone and some people may not notice any difference in hunger when giving up cigarettes.
When we quit smoking our brains are deprived of the nicotine that they crave and we can start to look for ways to satisfy those cravings. Research has shown the pleasure response from eating can increase after quitting cigarettes, making food more tempting and weight gain more likely.
But it is important to remember that while there are health risks associated with increased weight, these risks are small compared to the dangers that come with smoking. Weight gain after quitting smoking varies a lot. Some people won’t notice any gain and the average amount of weight gained after quitting in the UK is small compared to other countries. And, even if quitting smoking can lead to weight gain in some cases, research suggests that vaping can counteract that effect.
Flavour And Nicotine
As nicotine is one of the main reasons why cigarettes influence appetite, it isn’t surprising that nicotine replacement therapies like patches or vaping can make a big difference when trying to quit. Research suggests that vaping might make more of a difference than other nicotine replacement therapies when it comes to counteracting the possible weight gain effect of quitting smoking.
Various studies have suggested that both nicotine and the e-liquid flavourings have an impact on our appetite. Nicotine satisfies the cravings from smoking as well as acting as an appetite suppressant while the flavour can help with the cravings from certain types of food. Although there is still a lot more research that needs to be done into the effect that vaping has on metabolism and appetite, the results we have so far are very encouraging.
Of course this doesn’t mean that vaping e-liquids with nicotine would be a good idea for non-smokers looking to control their weight. Vaping is a great way to help quit smoking as it’s been proven to almost double the chances of quitting cigarettes for good. But nicotine is highly addictive and should be avoided whenever possible, especially among people who’ve never smoked before.
Vaping nicotine can help counter the effect that quitting smoking has on the metabolism and the flavours can help with food cravings. The current research suggests that vaping certainly isn’t responsible for weight gain like the common myth would have us believe.
Having Your Cake…
Quitting cigarettes is difficult process and can slow the metabolism and leave us with an instinctive hand-to-mouth habit that some people turn to food to satisfy. It’s possible for people to gain weight after quitting smoking because of these factors, although this doesn’t affect everyone the same way and can be countered with increased exercise and a focus on diet. If you want to quit smoking because of the health risks then it can be beneficial to aim for a healthier lifestyle that includes more exercise and watching what you eat.
Research has shown that quitting smoking can lead to weight gain for some former smokers, but does this mean that taking up vaping also leads to weight gain? At the moment it is difficult to give a definitive answer, but the current research suggests that the answer is no, vaping doesn’t lead to weight gain. We know that e-liquids with nicotine can suppress the appetite a little, just like cigarettes and vaping can counter the weight gain some people experience when quitting cigarettes.
Vaping also satisfies the subconscious hand-to-mouth habit that many smokers have when they give up cigarettes, making it less likely that they will turn to food. And on top of all this, some people have suggested that the different flavours of e-liquid also help satisfy our need for junk food as we can indulge in a sweet treat e-liquid instead of eating the sweet treats themselves.
While it is difficult to have all the answers at the moment, evidence does seem to suggest that vaping doesn’t encourage people to gain weight. In fact it’s possible that vaping helps counter the potential weight gain that some smokers experience after quitting cigarettes.