A study presented at this year's European
Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress
shows that smoking reduces calorie intake, possibly
modulated by its effect on levels of the hormone
ghrelin (also known as the hunger hormone).
The study was conducted by Dr Konstantina Zachari
and colleagues, Harokopio University Athens, Greece,
in collaboration with Athens Medical School Greece.
Smoking and its cessation are related to weight
change. Those who manage to stop smoking increase
their weight, while current smokers are less likely
to be obese than non-smokers.
Adolescents, mainly girls, may start and continue
smoking for body weight management. The belief
though that smoking regulates body weight follows
adolescent smokers into their adulthood.
For example, when post cessation weight gain (PSCWG
– with a mean weight gain pf around 10kg over 5
years), is one important factor that demotivates
people, mainly women, to quit smoking and is a
common reason to relapse.
Until now, confusing results about the related
hormones and mechanisms involved were available.
Increased food intake and Post Cessation Basic
Metabolic Rhythm (??R) may be involved.
Therefore, PSCWG is a very important factor that has
to be addressed in order to increase quitting rates
and lower relapse rates.
The aim of this small randomised crossover study was
to examine the acute effect of smoking and its
abstinence on dietary intake, subjective feelings
and hormones related to appetite, involving 14
healthy males who participated in two trials after
overnight abstinence from smoking and food: the
C-cig, where they smoked two cigarettes of their
brand and the S-sham (control) where they held the
cigarette as smoking without lighting it.
Each trial lasted 15 min and after 45 min
participants ate ad libitum (freely) a variety of
Dietary intake and at standard time points (t=0 mins,
t=60 mins, t=150 mins) appetite feelings (hunger,
satiety, desire to eat) and craving for smoking were
recorded. Blood samples were collected and analysed
for various hormones including obestatin, ghrelin,
GLP-1, CCK and insulin.
The researchers found that smoking had an acute
effect on dietary intake, reducing it by 152
calories – a statistically significant result.
There was no intervention effect for taste
preference (sweet or salty foods) or macronutrient
An intervention time effect on plasma ghrelin
concentration was found (of borderline statistical
significance), with ghrelin's concentration being
lower 60 min after S-sham, indicating more fullness
and food consumption after the S-sham part of the
/There was no intervention effect for appetite
feelings, obestatin, CCK, GLP-1 and insulin.
For more information
The European Lung Foundation (ELF)