Weight gain is a common problem for everyone who quits smoking. Smokers who are active may be more susceptible than others.
People who smoke while they're on the move are more likely to gain weight after they quit compared with those who smoke when they're seated.
|People who smoke while they're active use more energy than those who smoke when they're sedentary.|
|Active smokers may need to exercise more to minimize weight gain when they quit.|
|A higher level of nicotine may be responsible for the increase in energy consumption.|
Experts believe that approximately 70 percent of weight gain following smoking cessation is the result of increased food consumption, but it's unknown how the other 30 percent of weight gain occurs.
But now researchers at the University of Louisville, Ky., and Florida State University in Tallahassee have found a possible explanation. They compared the energy consumption of 10 male smokers when they were sedentary with when they were active.
Smoking is known to increase the body's use of energy. That means that even when the participants were resting their energy consumption was up by 3.6 percent, the researchers found. When they were active, energy consumption increased to 6.3 percent.
"Individuals who tend to smoke while moving around during the day, rather than while watching TV in the evening, experience greater smoking-related energy expenditure and may be at greater risk for post-cessation weight gain," said lead researcher Peter Rowell.
This suggests that "active" smokers, more than sedentary smokers, need to increase their activity levels to make up for the calories that were burned by smoking, the researchers noted.
However, it is not known if the increased energy consumption is due to a different smoking pattern, such as deeper and more frequent puffs, or the manner in which nicotine is metabolized.