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Ideas Provocations

Suck it up. One of the many “benefits” people find in cigarettes is that the habit of smoking tends to suppress the habit of overeating. And we all know people who claim that their recent weight gain is a result of their having quit smoking.

“Such flavor choices can be so effective at satisfying food cravings, inducing the feeling of satiety, and suppressing appetite, that they can function as an additional weapon against the explosive growth of obesity.”

How to be healthier without quitting? Well, there are e-cigarettes, which manufacturers claim are much less dangerous because of the lack of tobacco and tar, but which still contain a bit of the appetite-inhibiting nicotine. These are of particular appeal, since, like tobacco cigarettes, they mimic important parts of the act of eating, by providing a certain “mouth feel” and olfactory input. And, “nicotine aside,” as the website Vaping Navigator suggests, “it makes sense that giving a dieter’s mouth and hands something to do other than eat could be helpful.”

Novice e-cigarette smokers, according to Food Navigator, tend to gradually shift from tobacco-flavored e-cigs to more fruit and food-flavored varieties. Those preferences have led the authors of a recent article in Nicotine and Tobacco Research to suggest that such flavor choices can be so effective at satisfying food cravings, inducing the feeling of satiety, and suppressing appetite, that they can function as an additional weapon against the explosive growth of obesity.

Current offerings on the market include dozens of flavors, such as strawberry cake juice, organic coconut oil sticks, espresso, clove, and “bad apple.”

But beware: according to one of the article’s authors, “this paper is not suggesting that we should promote e-cigarettes to non-smokers or non-vapers for weight management.”

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Jeffrey Kittay

Jeffrey Kittay was the founder and editor of the legendary Lingua Franca magazine and a winner of the National Magazine Award. Most recently, while working in newspaper publishing in Maine, he became intrigued about what allowed some of the state’s farm-to-table businesses to succeed while others continued to struggle. He decided that he, and other such businesses from coast to coast, needed to know more about how to make The New Food Economy work.