: Break your smoking habit with fruits and veggies?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Smokers are three times more likely to successfully quit smoking if they eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
WHAT WE KNOW
According to the CDC, tobacco use is responsible for about one in five deaths annually in the United States. That equals about 443,000 deaths per year, and an estimated 49,000 of these smoking-related deaths are the result of secondhand smoke exposure. For every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, 20 more people suffer with at least one serious illness from smoking. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung diseases.
Many smokers have a strong desire to quit the habit; however, despite a concerted effort, they fail to do so. In 2010, the CDC reports that approximately 69% of smokers want to quit completely and approximately 52% of smokers attempted to quit. For those who have tried an array of concoctions, a new study suggests that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is the answer.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A study published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research conducted a national random-digit-dialed sample of 1,000 smokers. The study found that smokers who ate the most fruit and vegetables were three times more likely to have not smoked for 30 days at the time of the follow-up call than those eating the least amount. The study also found that smokers who ate more fruits and vegetables smoked fewer cigarettes daily, waited longer to smoke their first cigarette of the day, and were less dependent on nicotine.*
While this is a small study, it is thought that fruits and vegetables can worsen the taste of cigarettes or may help give more of a feeling of fullness so that people feel less of a need to smoke. Larger audiences would need to be tested for these results to be conclusive.
The take home message? If you’re ready to quit smoking cigarettes, find a cessation program that works for you and eat lots of fruits and vegetables!
We do know that fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants that help fight against free radicals from toxins in the environment, including cigarette smoke. There are so many benefits to eating fruits and vegetables, including promoting a healthy heart, eyes, lungs, skin, and many other vital organs in your body!
New experimental studies are emerging that demonstrate multiple effects of fruits and vegetables and their phytochemicals, suggesting that fruits and vegetables may have an even greater role to play in human health than the already positive results seen to date. So, enjoy your fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors and forms at each and every eating occasion!
*Haibach, J., G. Homish, and G. Giovino. “A Longitudinal Evaluation of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Cigarette Smoking” Nicotine & Tobacco Research (2012), doi: 10.1093/ntr/nts130.