Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
The presence of nicotine can raise a person’s basic metabolic rate while the sudden absence of nicotine can lower a person's metabolism. The latter occurs in those who have recently quit smoking or dipping, and it can take up to a year for the metabolism to get back to its normal rate. The effects of nicotine on the metabolism are a product of the increase in blood pressure and heart rate that occurs when nicotine enters the body as well as the increase in adrenaline production.
The moment nicotine enters the body, the blood vessels constrict, increasing blood pressure and making the heart beat up to 20 times more per minute. This increase in heart rate makes the body believe that it is working harder than it actually is, thus raising the basic metabolic rate for up to 24 hours. Nicotine also causes a higher concentration of sugar in the blood stream. This higher-than usual amount of sugar in the blood causes a chain reaction in the body, tricking it into thinking it has a food source, which can also raise the metabolism.
The metabolism can also be affected by the increase in adrenaline hormones released by the brain owing to nicotine. Adrenaline also increases heart rate, causing further strain on the body and increasing metabolism to make up for it. This strain, which can be equivalent to up to 90 pounds (41 kilograms) of extra body weight, is why those who habitually use nicotine products are at an increased risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular health issues.
The sudden lack of nicotine in the body can also affect the metabolism. Once the metabolism becomes used to functioning based in part on the presence of nicotine in the body, its absence can cause the basic metabolic rate to go down to rates below what they would have been without nicotine products. This effect of nicotine on the metabolism is one of the many reasons why people may gain weight immediately following nicotine cessation.
Once a person stops smoking or dipping, it can take up to a year for the metabolism to balance and begin functioning in a normal manner. This process can be sped up by exercising, which can produce some of the same effects of nicotine on the metabolism in a much healthier way; eating frequent small and nutritious meals is also helpful. These lifestyle changes, when made in conjunction with nicotine cessation aids such as nicotine gum or lozenges, can make any weight gain negligible at best and controllable while the body gets accustomed to functioning without the effects of nicotine on the metabolism.
I do believe the notion that nicotine will boost your metabolism to such a degree that you will lose wait is only half wright. That metabolism boost may help in the short term, but how long will it last? If someone has smoked for a decade for example, how likely is it that nicotine is still boosting their metabolism and helping keep them thin? Not very. The body adapts after a time, after all.
Perhaps the idea that nicotine speeds up metabolism for as long as someone uses it comes from the wait gain brought on by changes in metabolism when someone gives up tobacco. That nicotine might not keep you think after a time, but the sudden absence of it could cause you to gain weight.
Exercising doesn't just help get your nicotine-free metabolism back in line. It also helps give your mind something to think about rather than how miserable you are without nicotine.
Ask anyone who has every quit smoking or dipping. Breaking those old habits are hard and the cravings are downright miserable for a couple of weeks. It is critical, then, for people wanting to quit to find something that will occupy their time. Exercise is an excellent hobby to take up if you are determined to kick nicotine.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!