Contrary to popular belief, smoking makes you gain weight, particularly in the stomach area.

Contrary to popular belief, smoking makes you gain weight, particularly in the stomach area.


A new good reason to quit smoking. Danish researchers explain in a study published in the journal Addiction that cigarette may contribute to the increase in abdominal and visceral fat in smokers. This “invisible” fat around the organs is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and even having a stroke.

To reach this conclusion, scientists from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, analyzed data from two million people. They were particularly interested in genes associated with smoking and the distribution of body fat, eliminating certain factors that could interfere with the study results such as alcohol consumption and socio-economic background.

Flat stomach does not prevent visceral fat

“Starting smoking or smoking during one’s life could lead to an increase in abdominal fat, as shown by waist-to-hip ratio measurements,” says lead author of the research, Dr. German D. Carrasquilla. This type of fat that surrounds the organs is deeper than subcutaneous fat, just under the skin.

The subtlety is that a seemingly thin person, with a flat stomach, may actually have a large amount of visceral fat. Although less visible, the fatty tissue of the belly produces inflammatory molecules which cause diabetes, high blood pressure and even certain cancers.

Thanks to the nicotine it contains, cigarettes have an appetite suppressant effect which limits smokers’ weight gain. But its perverse effect would therefore be to contribute to the accumulation of abdominal fat. Tobacco, which is the leading cause of preventable mortality in France, causes 75,000 deaths each year.



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