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The Effects of Smoking on Eating Habits

By Steve Silverman ; Updated May 12, 2017

Smoking cigarettes has many negative effects. While most people are concerned with life-threatening problems like lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema, it will also have an impact on your energy level and eating habits. The combination of nicotine and smoking tobacco tends to have a dulling effect on taste buds and make eating a less fulfilling experience.

Loss of Appetite

Cigarette smoking is almost never just an occasional thing. It doesn't take long for an individual to get addicted to nicotine, the active ingredient in cigarettes. One of the side effects of the nicotine addiction is a lessening of the appetite. A 2004 study by the University of Melbourne (Australia) found that four days of cigarette smoke lessened the appetite of laboratory mice by 30 percent.

Dulling of the taste buds

A 2009 Aristotle University (Greece) study indicated that smoking has a negative impact on taste buds. The study showed the taste buds of Greek soldiers examined were flatter than the taste buds of non-smoking soldiers. Just as importantly, the blood supply to the tongue and mouth areas was also less, according to the study.

Dissatisfaction with food

Many smokers will go into a meal with the same expectations of non-smokers: They are hungry and they want a full meal. However, smokers often report that the process of eating is not satisfying and they don't get the enjoyment from eating or the satisfaction at the end of the meal that non-smokers do. This may be due to the onset of significant heartburn. According to research done by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in 2003, there is a rise in the amount of bile in the stomach as a result of smoking and this leads to heartburn and dissatisfaction with eating.

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