Every person oftentimes faces a need to make a choice when neither one of the available options seems to be at least acceptable. Here is just one of such dilemmas. Is it better to be a smoker and put up with the risk of getting cancer or to quit smoking and suffer from extra weight, and, consequently, enter the risk group for diabetes? The problem sounds fantastic to those who have never smoked or attempted to quit this habit. But it is more than realistic and requires an effective solution.
To cut the long story short, as it has been remarked by numerous researchers, there exists a positive correlation between attempts to quit smoking and gaining extra weight. Unfortunately, advocates for quitting cigarettes, never mention this problem. When they have to comment on the issue, they always attempt to underestimate its significance. Still, the problem does exist and those who quit smoking need to be aware of the outcomes.
Numerous studies have shown the existing correlation between quitting smoking and gaining extra weight (Bush et al, 2008; Bush et al, 2016; Healton et al, 2016). Some of the authors have even indicated at the existing increased risk of developing diabetes for those who attempt to quit smoking. This risk emerges as a result of increased body weight and even obesity (Chiolero, 2008). The point is that nicotine is known to interfere with central nervous system and suppress appetite on the one hand (Sturm, 2002), while on the other hand there is a correlation between the overall dissatisfaction of a former smoker and their desire and developing tendency to make up for the loss by eating something tasty much more often, than it is typical of them and than it is good for their health (Taniguchi, 2013). Still, those who have long ago begun the anti-tobacco hysteria disregard this fact and sometimes they even meaningfully attempt to diminish the importance of available scientific evidence. Though they seldom care to bring this subject up at first place. Bush et al (2016) cite a number of researches, which show that in the course of a year those who quit smoking on average gain about ten extra pounds, while a number of materials, advocating for quitting smoking cite much lower numbers, generalizing to the level of around 5 pounds. This constitutes a significant difference even when speaking of the aesthetic part of the issue. But extra pounds. Meanwhile, some authors, including Suffering )2012) cite researches, which indicate that weight gain actively continues after the first year, and in many instances, it does at a progressing rate. Yet, smokers and their relatives are bombarded with horrifying slogans, forced by anti-tobacco legislation onto every cigarette pack. Such are oftentimes accompanied with blood cooling illustrations, meant to remind the smoker of the horrors of their likely, soon and sudden death. Which, by the way, does not positively influence anybody’s health either? The data is freely manipulated and for the sake of what is believed to be a worthy goal. As a result of such a mass manipulation former smokers face the problems, which they were not only unprepared for, but, not less importantly, were unaware of. This state of affairs is, certainly, entirely unacceptable.
Definitely, the risk to the health of smokers should by no means be left unnoticed. The harm is great and it is necessary to inform smokers about it. But informing does not stand for manipulating facts and does not mean horrifying to death. Provision of precise, science based information is, certainly, one of the best ways of solving the problem. Another important solution is educating school children about possible risks associated with smoking. It is also possible to resolve the problem by means of increasing the price for tobacco products. This solution is based on the assumption that in case tobacco products become unaffordable, there will be not many people smoking and thus, not many having or willing to quit.
Certainly, the first solution seems to be the most effective one. The rest fail to address the problem in its integrity and complexity. It is important to inform the society, and having information at hand, people will be able to take over their own, informed decisions as for whether or not to begin smoking and whether or not to quit the habit. Dealing with the youth does not cut it. The youngsters grow up and forget the impressions, which are pushed from the memory by other information, other emotions. Increase of prices for the cigarettes will contribute into growth of the black market and will force the poor to smoke worth quality and, in many instances, uncertified and thus, dangerous tobacco products.
There are those, who insist, that informing the smokers about the risks related to quitting is unacceptable, since this will bring down the percentage of those, who quit. It certainly will. But it is important that no one should press their will or their own seemingly ideal solutions upon any other person. Only a freely made decision is firm enough to last long. Besides, it is not acceptable to push people towards one category of health problems in order to help them avoid another, similarly dangerous group of health problems.
Thus, let us make sure, all citizens, starting with school children, are well informed about the risks, related to smoking and with quoting cigarettes. This will make us a healthier and a more responsible nation.
- Bush, T., Levine, M. D. , Deprey, M., et al. (2008). “Prevalence of Weight Concerns and Obesity among Smokers Calling a Quitline”. J Smok Cessat. 2008;4(5):74–8.
- Bush, T., Lovejoy, J., Deprey, M., and Carpenter, K (Sept. 2016). “The effect of tobacco cessation on weight gain, obesity and diabetes risk”. Obesity Silverspring.
- Chiolero, A., Faeh, D., Paccaud, F., Cornuz, J. (2008). “Consequences of smoking for body weight, body fat distribution, and insulin resistance”. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(4):801–9.
- Healton, C., Vallone, D., McCausland, K., Xiao, H., Green MP. (May 2006). “Smoking, obesity, and their co-occurrence in the United States: cross sectional analysis”. Bmj. 2006;333(7557):25–6.
- Sifferlin, Alexandra. (July 11, 2012). “How Much Weight Will You Gain After You Quit Smoking?”. TIME.com.
- Sturm, R. (2002). “The effects of obesity, smoking, and drinking on medical problems and costs”. Health Aff (Millwood) 2002;21(2):245–53.
- Taniguchi, C, Tanaka, H, Oze, I, et al. (2013). “Factors associated with weight gain after smoking cessation therapy in Japan”. Nurs Res. 2013;62(6):414–21.