Fat and Smoke Free

 

shutterstock_142335652Smoking, as everyone knows, is cool. James Bond does it. Barack Obama does it.

But it also, as everyone used to know, helps keep the pounds off. Smoking, for a lot of people, replaces eating. Don’t take my word for it. A new study proves it.

From the National Bureau of Economic Research:

This paper aims to identify the causal effect of smoking on body mass index (BMI) using data from the Lung Health Study, a randomized trial of smoking cessation treatments. Since nicotine is a metabolic stimulant and appetite suppressant, quitting or reducing smoking could lead to weight gain. Using randomized treatment assignment to instrument for smoking, we estimate that quitting smoking leads to an average long-run weight gain of 1.5-1.7 BMI units, or 11-12 pounds at the average height. These magnitudes are considerably larger than those typically estimated by studies that do not account for the endogeneity of smoking. Our results imply that the drop in smoking in recent decades explains 14% of the concurrent rise in obesity.

Let me break out that last sentence one more time:

Our results imply that the drop in smoking in recent decades explains 14% of the concurrent rise in obesity.

For the past 40 years or more, the government has been trying to get us all to quit smoking. Which, in droves, we did. Tobacco use in the US has plummeted.

But we compensated, apparently, with doughnuts and venti lattés and Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese. What we didn’t smoke, we ate.

As Thomas Sowell has taught us, “There are no solutions. There are only trade-offs.”

We might be healthier, on balance, smoking a bit more and eating a bit less. But don’t tell that to the government.

Published in Culture
Tags: ,
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 43 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Spicy Food Hiccups Inactive
    Spicy Food Hiccups
    @SpicyFoodHiccups

    Rob Long: But don’t tell that to the government.

    I don’t know… a “Let’s Smoke” campaign might have massive appeal to the government.  By increasing cigarette sales and usage, they can fight obesity and rake in more tax dollars.

    • #1
  2. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    14% of the reason I don’t have my homework is my dog ate it.

    • #2
  3. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    This post makes me feel exceptional.  Back in the mid-80s, I managed to start smoking and gain 50 pounds, in a single year!

    • #3
  4. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Arizona Patriot:This post makes me feel exceptional. Back in the mid-80s, I managed to start smoking and gain 50 pounds, in a single year!

    You musta been using them candy cigarettes.

    • #4
  5. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    … so now, in Seattle (I believe), it is also illegal to Vape anywhere that it was illegal to smoke.  Don’t quote me on that, because I’m not 100% certain, but I believe that is the case.

    You know, the dangers of 2nd hand vaping and all that.  Next step, ban humidifiers.

    • #5
  6. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    I’ve put on about a pound per year since I quit smoking. I still look pretty good on the court, though.

    • #6
  7. Brian McMenomy Inactive
    Brian McMenomy
    @BrianMcMenomy

    Ryan M:… so now, in Seattle (I believe), it is also illegal to Vape anywhere that it was illegal to smoke. Don’t quote me on that, because I’m not 100% certain, but I believe that is the case.

    You know, the dangers of 2nd hand vaping and all that. Next step, ban humidifiers.

    I believe this is correct, partially because the tobacco manufacturers don’t want the “competition” and partially because the city council continues to think they have to solve a problem that isn’t there (meanwhile, “the Jungle” is still there in SoDo).

    • #7
  8. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    I picked the wrong week to give up fast food and begin exercising.

    • #8
  9. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    Rob Long:shutterstock_142335652

    But we compensated, apparently, with doughnuts and venti lattés and Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese. What we didn’t smoke, we ate.

    Mmm…doughnuts

    • #9
  10. Jordan Wiegand Inactive
    Jordan Wiegand
    @Jordan

    Could take up vaping I suppose.  I imagine that has no health trade offs.

    But that wouldn’t be cool, and we’re willing to get lung cancer to be cool and skinny, or skip the smoking and be cancer-free and fat.

    But we’re not about to be uncool and healthy.

    • #10
  11. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Sleeper nailed it.

    • #11
  12. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    I can attest that when I don’t have a pinch of Grizzly Long Cut, I will tend to snack more.

    It’s not smoking, but it’s close.  It’s as much habit as anything else.  A bad habit, but still a habit.

    • #12
  13. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Brian McMenomy:

    Ryan M:… so now, in Seattle (I believe), it is also illegal to Vape anywhere that it was illegal to smoke. Don’t quote me on that, because I’m not 100% certain, but I believe that is the case.

    You know, the dangers of 2nd hand vaping and all that. Next step, ban humidifiers.

    I believe this is correct, partially because the tobacco manufacturers don’t want the “competition” and partially because the city council continues to think they have to solve a problem that isn’t there (meanwhile, “the Jungle” is still there in SoDo).

    Yeah… Heroin capital of the United States… meh…  let’s go after vaping.  People just look so silly on busses, sitting there sucking on those weird tube-looking things.

    • #13
  14. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Basil Fawlty:Sleeper nailed it.

    Sleeper nailed just about everything.

    • #14
  15. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    I would be very skinny if I hadn’t quit smoking. You get skinny in a coffin. That is for sure where I would be.

    • #15
  16. MLH Inactive
    MLH
    @MLH

    livingthehighlife:I can attest that when I don’t have a pinch of Grizzly Long Cut, I will tend to snack more.

    It’s not smoking, but it’s close. It’s as much habit as anything else. A bad habit, but still a habit.

    I think the risk of mouth cancer is greater than lung cancer so you’d be better off smoking. . . just saying

    • #16
  17. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    What 14% didn’t smoke, 14% ate.

    • #17
  18. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    PHCheese: You get skinny in a coffin. That is for sure where I would be.

    Spoken like a man with a Cheese Factory. I salute you!

    In all seriousness I think we’re assuming skinny is more healthful than it actually is.

    • #18
  19. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Hank, did you know that I was the guy that invented , fat free, calorie free and cholesterol free Swiss Cheese? You can only eat the holes though.

    • #19
  20. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    I have fought a losing battle with my weight since birth. I’ve never smoked – but maybe this is the answer I’ve been looking for: Take up smoking.

    I will lose weight. I will look cool. And since I’ve never smoked a day in my life, the worst result is that it will knock a week or two off my life. And let’s face it, who really worries about those last few days when you’re 80 years old?

    Granted, my wife will kick me out of the house. And I’ll never be allowed near the grandkids again. And my friends won’t let me in their homes. But hey — I’ll be thinner!

    • #20
  21. muckfire Inactive
    muckfire
    @muckfire

    I’ve wondered if much lower smoking levels is playing maybe a small part in the apparent rise in mass/spree killings. In the past, at least from what you would see in documentaries and movies, all the folks in the psych wards would be puffing away all day, the nicotine helping keep them calm. Now that smoking is so frowned upon culturally maybe some of these psychos that perhaps would have in the past benefited from its positive effects are now missing out… if it saves just one life…

    • #21
  22. Hank Rhody Contributor
    Hank Rhody
    @HankRhody

    PHCheese:Hank, did you know that I was the guy that invented , fat free, calorie free and cholesterol free Swiss Cheese? You can only eat the holes though.

    Well, I’ll try anything once, even something as blasphemous as that. Only give me half a hole.

    • #22
  23. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Sir, would you like to add extra chemo with your soy wrap?

    • #23
  24. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Ryan M: You know, the dangers of 2nd hand vaping and all that.

    Eh. Secondhand vape fumes don’t seem totally harmless. But they are so much less harmful than regular cigarette fumes that there’s no question in my mind that vaping, rather than smoking, around others is far more considerate. So it’s especially frustrating to me to see it punished as if it were no different from smoking.

    • #24
  25. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Casey:

    Arizona Patriot:This post makes me feel exceptional. Back in the mid-80s, I managed to start smoking and gain 50 pounds, in a single year!

    You musta been using them candy cigarettes.

    Plausible theory, but no.  Marlboro reds.  I wanted to be the Marlboro Man.  But who ever heard of a fat Marlboro Man?

    It wasn’t just Marlboro reds.  I also enjoyed chewing tobacco (preferably Levi Garrett) and snuff (Copenhagen).  All at the same time, on one memorable occasion (I-5 south headed to Mexico, if I remember correctly).

    • #25
  26. JimGoneWild Coolidge
    JimGoneWild
    @JimGoneWild

    I just got back from Maui. I noticed the Canadians were usually slender–and they weren’t smoking.

    Americans were generally tattoo’ed blobs.

    • #26
  27. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    The other 86% of obesity is explained by… government’s heavy subsidy of starchy foods.

    • #27
  28. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Ryan M: You know, the dangers of 2nd hand vaping and all that.

    Eh. Secondhand vape fumes don’t seem totally harmless. But they are so much less harmful than regular cigarette fumes that there’s no question in my mind that vaping, rather than smoking, around others is far more considerate. So it’s especially frustrating to me to see it punished as if it were no different from smoking.

    It’s Seattle.  They have a special police force that digs through your garbage to make sure you separated out the recycling and compost.  I can think of no good reason to live there.

    • #28
  29. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Ryan M:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Ryan M: You know, the dangers of 2nd hand vaping and all that.

    Eh. Secondhand vape fumes don’t seem totally harmless. But they are so much less harmful than regular cigarette fumes that there’s no question in my mind that vaping, rather than smoking, around others is far more considerate. So it’s especially frustrating to me to see it punished as if it were no different from smoking.

    It’s Seattle. They have a special police force that digs through your garbage to make sure you separated out the recycling and compost. I can think of no good reason to live there.

    I can think of one really awesome reason – the opportunity to toss an Aquafina bottle into a bag of compost every Tuesday morning.

    • #29
  30. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    I have been meaning to write a post about smoking since Fred Cole and I mixed it up a bit on the subject.

    I haven’t had time but surely I am not the only person who noticed Mel Gibson going off the rails after he quit smoking?

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.