Does Smoking Equal Weight Loss? By Guest Blogger Sreeny Cherukuri

The Con

Once again, Zola System guest blogger Sreeny Cheurkuri asks an interesting question, this time about smoking.


I can’t be the first person to wonder about this?

Medical Fad – definition 1.  The cycle by which collective embrace of scientific findings evolves from alternative health, to mainstream medice, to public health crisis, followed by heath regulation, which inevitiably concludes with the conclusion “I guess there is more to it than that.”   example: margarine (circa 1975) = trans fat (circa 2005)

Along those lines, I have wondered about the public health scourges of our time, smoking and obesity. It seemed like as we got on top of one, the other has come to dominate the headlines. So I was surprised to find that I couldn’t find this graph anywhere on the Internet. So I made it myself – with a little help from the CDC and the good people at Microsoft.

I’m not sure what it means, but it appears that we used to be a nation of thinner people who smoked more.  Anecdotally there has always been a connection between smoking helping keep off the weight.  So it may be possible that one affects the other.

I haven’t drawn any conclusions yet but here are some things to consider:

1.  Have we just traded one public health crisis for another? Has anyone studied the intermediate points for example is it better to smoke 5 cigarettes a day if it keeps 5lbs off?

2. If I am an obese non-smoking pensioner – should I consider taking up smoking?

3.  Throughout this time life expectancy is increasing – so we must be on the right path.  But is it cheaper to treat fatties than smokies?   What about after you factor in cigarette taxes

4.   Perhaps Kodak is to blame.  Smoking culture used to be elegant and sophisticated in Black and White (i.e. the Thin Man).   Perhaps color cameras add 15 lbs?

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