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ANN ARBOR, Mich. Is a fear of getting fatter partly to blame for the fact that nearly one in five American women still smokes, and many dont try to quit"
Although there are many possible reasons for the stubborn persistence of smoking, fear of weight gain is high on the list for many women, says a University of Michigan Health System researcher who has devoted much of her career to studying this issue.
Several years ago, she and her team reported that 75 percent of all women smokers say they would be unwilling to gain more than five pounds if they were to quit smoking, and nearly half said they would not tolerate any weight gain. In fact, many women started smoking in the first place because they thought it might help them stay slim.
Now, new U-M research findings published in the October issue of Addictive Behaviors show that women who smoke tend to be further from their ideal body image, and more prone to dieting and bingeing, than those who dont smoke.
Cigarettes are well known to suppress appetite and weight, says Cindy Pomerleau, Ph.D., director of the U-M Nicotine Research Laboratory. So its hardly surprising that women who have trouble managing their weight or are dissatisfied with their bodies are drawn to smoking, she says.
In another recent study, published in August, the U-M team found that overweight women smokers who were overweight as children were far more likely to have started smoking in their early teens than women whose weight problems started later in life. They also had worse withdrawal symptoms when they tried to quit.
Once they make a serious attempt to quit, evidence suggests that most weight-concerned smokers can be just as successful in kicking the habit as others.
The problem here is getting women who are concerned about their weight to be wil
|Contact: Kara Gavin|
University of Michigan Health System