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Smoking Cessation & Weight Loss/Weight Gain
If you've quit smoking, congratulations! Obviously, quitting smoking is a good thing and has many health benefits. However, there is an additional obstacle present for many that do. According to various studies, the average smoker gains about 8 pounds after quitting. So, it's a concern for many women. In fact, many women, especially teenagers, take up smoking as a weight control measure. Needless to say, you probably don't want to do that. In a University of Toronto study, girls who believed themselves to be overweight were 50% more likely to be smokers than those who believed themselves to be of average weight or too thin.
As of 1997, roughly half of people who have ever smoked have quit. The prevalence of smoking cessation was highest among male, white, older, more educated, and wealthier persons. While 70% of smokers want to stop smoking, only 34% attempt to quit each year. The proportion who actually succeed in quitting is relatively miniscule, with estimates ranging from 2.5% to 7%. According to surveys on smoking conducted by the Gallup Organization, the average number of attempts to quit was six in 1993 and seven in 1998.
In the 1998 Gallup survey, 60% of former smokers indicated that they quit “cold turkey.” It appears that the advent of new treatments and easier accessibility to older treatments has led to diminished reliance on the “cold turkey” quitting approach. The success rate for those who quit via “cold turkey” is generally estimated to be in the 5% to 10% range. In sharp contrast, the success rate is usually in the 10% to 30% range when some form of smoking cessation program is used.
Why Does One Gain Weight After Quitting Smoking?
One of the reasons for weight gain is because nicotine speeds up one's metabolism. When you quit smoking, your metabolism slows down and you might gain weight even though you're not eating more food. When you quit smoking, you'll usually feel hungrier and food will taste better. You also need something to replace the butts and some people turn to food. The combination of consuming more calories while burning less results in weight gain.
Exercise is one healthy way to avoid gaining weight after you quit smoking. Studies show that smokers have an easier time quitting when they add exercise to their smoking cessation program.
Your healthy diet is critical as well. Performing more exercise may be easy for you, but avoiding sweets and other fatty foods after you quit may be much more difficult. People often turn their cravings for nicotine into longings for food, satisfying the oral gratification they're not getting. Again, exercise can help. You can also use more sugarless gum, avoid fast foods, and drink lots of water.
New Drug Coming in 2006 That May Help You Quit Smoking AND Lose Weight
Acomplia is the brand name for the drug Rimonabant, now in the final testing stages by French company Sanofi-Synthelabo. It may be the single pill that will help you stop both food and cigarette cravings--thus quitting smoking and weight loss at the same time! In one study so far, Acomplia helped people who were overweight lose an average of 20 lbs. and in another doubled the chances that smokers would quit. Rimonabant works by blocking the CB1 receptor, one of two receptors found in a newly described physiological system called the Endocannabinoid System (EC System), which is thought to play a crucial role in regulating food intake and energy expenditure.
This blocking of signals that controls cravings appears to result in weight loss, improvement of cardiovascular/metabolic risk factors in overweight and obese patients, and appears to reduce tobacco dependence without post-cessation weight gain in people who smoke.
Types of Smoking Cessation Programs
Research tends to show higher success rates for the nicotine nasal spray and inhaler than for the nicotine patch and gum. Success rates for behavioral therapy reportedly range from 15% to 20%. Physician advice to quit smoking, exclusive of any other intervention, can lead to quit rates of up to 10%.
Your employer may also help. Assistance to employees who are seeking to quit smoking comes in various forms. Sometimes, outside “vendors,” such as non-profit organizations or commercial smoking cessation programs, are called in to implement and oversee these efforts. For instance, the American Heart Association offers the Heart at Work program, which is geared specifically to the worksite setting, or SmokEnders, a commercial smoking cessation program.
Following are the major commercial organizations offering smoking cessation programs:
Addiction Management Systems, Inc., 1235 Bay Street, Suite 605, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5R 3K4 (416-927-0370) (average fee of $150).
Smoke Stoppers, Inc., 555 North Lane, Ste. 5039, Conshohocken, PA 19428 (800-697-7221) (average fee of $150)
SmokEnders, 9617 Northwest Golden Ave., Vancouver, WA 98665 (800-828-4357) (average cost of $295).
American Institute for Preventive Medicine, 30445 Northwestern Hwy. Farmington Hills, MI 48334 (248-539-1800, Don R. Powell, PhD., Exec. Director)website: www.healthylife.com (average cost of $150).
Following are the major non-profit groups:
American Cancer Society, 1599 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30329 (404) 329-7611 Web site: www.cancer.org/tobacco.html
American Lung Association, 1740 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 (212-315-8700) Web site: www.lungusa.org/tobacco.html (Freedom From Smoking clinics)
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Springs, MD 20904 (301-680-6717) Web site: www.adventist.org/ (The “Breathe Free” plan)
Zyban... Zyban is the “smoking cessation” version of Wellbutrin, a product that has been used for many years for treatment of depression. Wellbutrin is available in both an immediate release and sustained-release (SR) form.
NICOTINE Nasal Spray... Nicotine nasal spray was approved by the FDA in 1996, under the brand Nicotrol NS. It is currently available exclusively on a prescription basis.
Retail Smoking Cessation Aids
NICOTINE CHEWING GUM... Nicotine gum (nicotine polacrilex) was the first available form of nicotine replacement therapy. The 2 mg dosage form of the product, under the brand Nicorette, was approved by the FDA in 1984 as an aid to smoking cessation. In 1994, a 4 mg dose of nicotine gum was approved by the FDA. Nicorette was converted from a prescription product to an over-the-counter product in 1996, and is currently available exclusively as an OTC medication.
The Patch... A typical smoker's life consists of a series of "peaks and valleys", controlled by the number of cigarettes smoked. The nicotine patch smoothes these out, eliminating the acute physical craving that follows nicotine abstinence. By providing a steady dose of nicotine through the skin, the patch minimizes the craving for nicotine and eases the withdrawal symptoms which smokers experience upon cessation. There are currently several patch brands available, all of which can be obtained over the counter -- Nicotrol and Nicoderm.
Other Quit Smoking Resources
Some “all-purpose” Internet sites also devote space to smoking cessation. A prime example is About.com, which has a page dedicated to the tobacco control area.
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