The Cigarette Diet

This week we premier our new blog series “Tobacco & Twenty-somethings” which will take a look at tobacco use and tobacco control through the eyes of our own twenty-something, Stacy Song. Every week Stacy will blog about tobacco through her own very unique lens. We hope you enjoy!

In today’s society, women are obsessed with being skinny and the newest dieting fads. Source: I am a woman in today’s society. I’ve tried low-carb, no-carb, paleo, the master cleanse…you name it! Although I normally stick with a diet for only a few days before giving up, I know the feeling of just wanting to lose a few pounds. I was talking to an incredibly thin co-worker last week (not at the ALA) who told me she used to be heavy in high school. Of course, my first response was, “How did you do it?” Jokingly, she responded, “The cigarette diet really works.”

Although she laughed about it, she told me cigarettes actually did help her lose weight. I had heard about this before, about how supermodels smoke tons of cigarettes to suppress their appetite and how some people just drink water and smoke cigarette to have the same effect. Because nicotine is a stimulant, it is said to suppress your appetite and keep your brain satisfied. It can aid with weight loss, but it obviously comes with health risks. My co-worker now smokes close to a pack a day but she still remains thin. She wants to go into the Air Force but doesn’t know if she can complete basic training because her lungs and body won’t allow her to run one mile without feeling like she might die. She thinks this is because she is out of shape, and although that is one of the reasons, her addiction to cigarettes is definitely the main cause.

The cigarette diet may work in the short term, but in the long run, you will not only gain your weight back but have a new set of health problems to deal with and possibly even cancer. It is mind boggling that some girls think of this as a possible solution. This kind of thinking increased Lucky Strike’s sales by 200% in the 1920’s with their campaign, “Reach for a Lucky, instead of a sweet.” It has almost been a century since that campaign, and although we have science telling us the harms of smoking, some women will still do it just to lose weight.

There are many reasons one starts smoking cigarettes but I think pressure is at the root of all these reasons. May it be social pressures or pressure from work, there are healthier and more effective ways to handle these pressures than reaching for a cigarette and gaining a new, negative addiction.

–Stacy Song

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