Quit Smoking Without Weight Gain?

By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter
By: Jessa Goddard, Medical Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) -Television commercials for a product called the Commit Nicotine Lozenges claim to help smokers gain less weight as they quit, but can these lozenges really help, as the ads say they will?

In this week's Healthy Tennessean, Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard weighs in with the latest research and the opinion of a local doctor.

Weight gain, it's the reason more than half of women give as their main reason for not quitting smoking.

The commit lozenge ads claim women no longer have to choose between low riders or lung cancer, bikinis or bronchitis.

But are they just blowing smoke?

"Millions of women put off quitting smoking for fear of gaining weight," says Dr Lynn Nichols.

It is a real concern.

Research suggests most smokers will put on six to eight pounds when quitting.

But, Pulmonologist Lynn Nichols says, a minimal concern when compared with the risks of smoking. "And then the few pounds that are gained, I think, can be controlled very easily with increasing activity, so overall, it would be much better for someone's health if you quit smoking and started exercising."

It is true, since nicotine suppresses the appetite and speeds up metabolism, smokers typically weigh less than non-smokers.

And when a smoker kicks the habit, her metabolism returns to normal, usually resulting in weight gain.

But can commit really reduce weight gain?

"I do support their product, as well as other products that help people to stop smoking. I don't support exaggerating claims to get people to use one product over another," says Dr. Nichols.

Doctor Nichols says using any one of a number of nicotine replacement products, such as lozenges, patches or gum may help delay, but not prevent weight gain.

Even Commit manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline says the best way to take off extra pounds is to develop new healthy habits, like eating right and exercising.

But most doctors agree it's best to save real attempts at weight loss for after you've quit.

"Especially when they've developed any type of lung damage and you have the chronic smokers' cough, which may lead someone to not want to exercise, because they might cough more," Dr. Nichols.

No nicotine replacement product eliminates weight gain and for any smoker to see an effect on her weight, she'd have to take the recommended doses of nicotine replacement medication.

Research suggests most smokers typically use much less than directed.


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