Smoker's Diet May Help Quit Smoking by Worsening Taste Sensory

Smoker's Diet May Help Quit Smoking by Worsening Taste Sensory

The Pan American Health Organization is involved in tobacco control activities because tobacco has been defined as the number one preventable disease in the Region, causing more deaths than AIDS, alcohol and drug abuse, traffic accidents and violence combined. Tobacco kills approximately 3 million people a year in the world (7% of all deaths) and, if current trends continue, this figure will rise to 10 million by the year 2030, half these deaths will be in developing nations.Smoking is associated with dose-dependent increases in the risk of very or moderately preterm delivery.


The risk of stroke is similar to that of a non-smoker. The risk of developing cancers of the mouth, throat and esophagus lessen significantly.Quitting smoking is a difficult task, even with psychological and medical assistance. Cigarettes are the best nicotine delivery devices, providing a high dose of nicotine very quickly to the brain.

That is why it is so challenging to quit smoking. You may have good intentions to quit, but nicotine has already caught your brain.Major depression may influence smoking cessation in women. Because depression is twice as common among women as men, the history of depression and negative affect have been associated with smoking treatment failure.Use of other tobacco products such as pipes, cigars, and snuff is less common, comprising less than 10% of use of all tobacco products; however, the health effects of these products are similar to those of tobacco—particularly their association with cancers of the mouth, throat, and esophagus.

Quitting smoking helps your circulation, your stamina, your skin, and your general health. Your risk for coronary heart disease, the most common cause of death in the U.S., is cut in half after only a year without smoking. Quitting smoking also reduces the likelihood of having breathing problems and lung and other cancers. Studies have shown that smoking affects others as well as yourself.

Children of parents who smoke around the house are more likely to get respiratory infections than children from nonsmoking homes. Smoking is an addictive habit. Quitting smoking is not easy but it can be done. Most former smokers made several attempts to quit before they are finally successful. So, never say, "I can't." Just keep trying!

Pharmacotherapy can more than double the likelihood of successful quitting. Over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) includes gum, the patch and lozenges.Recognize high-risk places and situations — and do your best to avoid them. Go places where smoking isn't allowed, such as a museum or movie theater. Hang out with people who don't smoke.

At work, try the main door instead of the smoking entrance. Keep especially busy during off-work hours.The alcohol makes it much less likely that they will be able to quit because most smokers like to smoke when they drink. I tell people who want to quit around New Year's not to worry if they don't quit exactly on January 1, exactly on New Year's Day.

Even though quitting without help is tough, most smokers quit on their own. Prepare a realistic exercise plan that fits into your daily activities. A small amount of weight gain (usually five to ten pounds) after quitting is natural for several reasons. First, you will probably look for oral substitutes, like food, to replace cigarettes. Also, nicotine suppresses appetite and increases metabolism, so when you quit smoking your appetite increases and your body doesn't metabolize energy as quickly. However, your appetite will decrease to normal after a few weeks. Exercise will help you keep weight off in the meantime, and will keep you occupied so you think less about having a cigarette.

What do a slice of cheese, a glass of water, and a plate of broccoli have in common?

According to new research, consuming any of these foods seems to diminish the taste of cigarettes.

The research also found that cigarette taste is enhanced after eating meat or drinking alcohol or beverages that contain caffeine.

Taken together, the discoveries raise the possibility of fashioning a so-called "smoker's diet" -- one that could help make quitting easier.

"Smoking is not just about nicotine addiction, it's also about taste and sensory qualities of smoking," said study author F. Joseph McClernon, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "So, anything we find that can disturb or disrupt the smoking experience might make it easier for a smoker to quit."

In the April issue of Nicotine & Tobacco Research, McClernon and his colleagues reported on their analysis of questionnaires administered to 209 adult male and female smokers who had already participated in one of six previous smoking studies between 2002 and 2004.

All the participants smoked a minimum of 10 to 15 cigarettes a day and were in otherwise good health. About 70 percent were white, while about a quarter were black.

The authors asked the smokers to indicate which foods they felt either enhanced or worsened the taste of cigarettes. The number of cigarettes smoked per day was noted, as was the participants' choice of cigarette brand, type, size and strength.

On average, the participants smoked about 22 cigarettes a day and had been lighting up for a little more than 21 years. Almost 47 percent said they smoked menthol cigarettes. Just over 40 percent said they smoked "light" cigarettes, while just under 40 percent said they smoked full-flavor brands.

Almost 45 percent of the smokers mentioned some kind of food that worsened cigarette taste, while almost 70 percent identified foods that improved taste.

Fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and non-caffeinated drinks (such as water and juice) were among the foods most commonly cited as worsening the taste of a cigarette.

Participants also pointed to specific situations they said had a taste-diminishing impact, including taking medicines, hot weather, or smoking too much or too fast. Stale cigarettes and a smoky environment also dampened cigarette taste.

On the other hand, caffeinated drinks, alcohol and meat were most often highlighted as improving taste.

McClernon and his team found that younger smokers were more sensitive to foods that worsened taste, whereas those who smoked fewer cigarettes were more susceptible to taste-enhancing foods. Those who smoked non-menthol brands were more sensitive to either kind of influence.

The researchers suggested that clinicians might want to consider advising dietary changes for patients trying to kick the habit.

"There's really no harm in smokers trying some of these things now," McClernon said. "Try drinking skim milk or other dairy products, drinking more water, eating fruits and vegetables before stopping smoking -- and see if that makes smoking less pleasurable."

McClernon acknowledged, however, that further investigation is needed to figure out how exactly foods affect cigarette taste and whether altering a diet might improve quitting success. "But we're going to follow up on that," he noted, "because any kind of clue that has the potential to lead to new treatments is important in dealing with the leading preventable cause of death and disability in the U.S."

Stanton A. Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, described the findings as both interesting and plausible.

"It's not going to make the world start spinning in the opposite direction, but it could have some very practical implications," he said. "When you talk about the perceived taste of smoking, there's a lot of psychopharmacology going on there, so it would depend on how big the effect really turns out to be. But it makes sense. And creating a program where you modify your diet in certain ways to make it easier to quit smoking is not unreasonable at all."

Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, agreed.

"This is new," he noted. "No one has written anything about this seriously up until now, at least that I've seen, and it is certainly worth further study. So, ultimately, the significance of this will be to prompt more research into the role of diet into both starting smoking and quitting. It doesn't provide all the answers, but it opens a new avenue to explore."

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