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Does Vaping Make You Lose Weight?

8 min read
a few vapes along with a measuring tape_does vaping make you lose weight
Melissa Mitri post Reviewer Melissa Mitri post Reviewer
Verified by Melissa Mitri
MS, Registered Dietitian, Former President of CT Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Does vaping make you lose weight? Most importantly, is it an effective & healthy weight loss strategy? Read on to find out the answers.

Table of Contents

Smokers tend to weigh less than non-smokers: it’s a scientifically confirmed fact [1]. It is also true that quitting smoking can cause weight gain. It is estimated that people who quit smoking can gain up to 10kg within 12 months after smoking cessation—and sometimes more [2].

For this reason, some smokers are reluctant to stop smoking. Many even turn to vaping in the hope of keeping the pounds off. A population study in England has shown that 1 in 16 people believe that vaping would prevent weight gain after stopping, and 1 in 22 people who vape are using e-cigarettes to prevent weight gain [12].

However, the effectiveness and safety of this strategy are questionable. 

How does nicotine induce weight loss? Does vaping make you lose weight? Moreover, is it safe to use vaping as a method of losing weight? 

In this post, we aim to find science-backed answers to these questions. 

Can Vaping Possibly Affect Body Weight?

Vaping essentially means inhaling a mixture of nicotine, flavorings, and various other chemicals instead of smoking cigarettes. 

As you might know, cigarettes that contain tobacco are bad for your health as they contain more than 7000 chemicals along with nicotine [3]. Most of these chemicals are proven to be toxic [4]

Smoking is among the most harmful habits that can damage almost every system of the body, thus leading to various health problems [5]. It can cause heart disease, cancer, and lung problems, among several other debilitating conditions.  

Some smokers who want to quit may turn to vaping as a phasing-out strategy. Some, however, tend to take up vaping as a weight maintenance tactic.

The idea of using vaping as a weight loss approach mainly stems from the fact that smoking causes weight reduction. 

Several studies support the fact that smokers are inclined towards a lower body weight than those who do not smoke, and ceasing smoking often results in weight gain [1].

Researchers suggest several mechanisms that may underlie this phenomenon, which we will discuss below.

Nicotine and Metabolism

One of the ways nicotine facilitates weight loss is by increasing your resting metabolic rate [6]. It is estimated that nicotine increases calorie usage at rest by 7% to 15% [7]

Nicotine acts on the brain regions that regulate energy metabolism [6]. When the number of calories burned exceeds the number of calories taken in, weight loss is induced.

Moreover, nicotine also promotes lipid (i.e., fat) breakdown in the adipose tissues [8].

Nicotine as an Appetite Suppressant

Another way nicotine brings about weight loss is by acting as an appetite suppressant. It is suggested that nicotine enhances the effect of leptin (the hormone that makes you full) by methods such as increasing leptin binding to its receptors [9]

Nicotine also acts on hormones like norepinephrine and dopamine, which suppresses eating and increases metabolism [6]

Smoking and Vaping as a Replacement Habit for Eating

Smoking or vaping may also act as a practice that replaces habitual eating and can mess with your eating patterns. Its hand-to-mouth action may mimic eating, thus limiting the need to eat frequently. 

Another factor to consider is that some people use sweet-flavored vaping liquids to replace sweet foods. While it may sound like a good idea, a study reported that this behavior may lead to greater food cravings [13].

On the other hand, ex-smokers who quit smoking cold turkey may find themselves reaching for high-calorie foods instead of cigarettes. This might increase their caloric intake, eventually increasing their weight. 

Does Vaping Help With Fasting?

If you follow intermittent fasting, you might be interested in this perspective on vaping.

First, while vape liquids do contain a negligible amount of calories (2 to 4 Cal per ml), you don’t consume any calories while vaping, meaning vaping doesn’t break a fast and cannot disrupt ketosis.

Second, nicotine-containing vapes might suppress appetite, thus making fasting easier for you. However, there are concerns that e-cigarette flavors can provoke cravings rather than beat them [12] [13].

Nicotine-free Vapes and Weight Loss

Vapes on the market offer a range of nicotine strengths, including zero strength. 

This essentially means that these vapes don’t include nicotine as an ingredient. They contain compounds such as propylene glycol and glycerin along with flavorings and other chemicals. 

While they take away the harmful effects of nicotine, there’s no guarantee that they are better than nicotine vapes as they still might contain various potentially dangerous chemicals.

Regarding weight loss, nicotine-free vapes are less likely to be effective. As we explained in the previous section, the weight loss effects of vaping are mostly based on nicotine. 

Therefore, nicotine-free vapes, while might be useful in quitting smoking, won’t work as a weight-loss method. In fact, they might even increase your food intake as their flavor ingredients can trigger food cravings.  

Vaping is NOT a Healthy Weight Loss Strategy

At first glance, vaping might seem like a low-risk and effective strategy for weight loss. However, while it certainly is less harmful than cigarette smoking, vaping has its own risks. 

Vaping can cause lung damage and death. In 2020, CDC reported an outbreak of ‘e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury’ (EVALI) and EVALI-related deaths [10].

Although they contain a comparatively lower number of chemicals, most chemical ingredients in vaping liquids have not yet been identified [11]

In addition, just like in regular cigarettes, nicotine is the main ingredient in vaping liquids. And in some cases, vaping can expose users to higher nicotine concentrations than traditional tobacco cigarettes [3]

As nicotine is an extremely addictive substance, there’s a high chance of getting hooked to vaping.

While vaping is a relatively good option for those who want to quit smoking, it is definitely NOT a good idea to start vaping as a weight-loss strategy.

Moreover, research suggests that vaping can cause lung diseases, asthma, and heart diseases, so it is far from harmless [3]

So, Does Vaping Cause Weight Loss?

It’s true that smokers tend to weigh less than non-smokers, and quitting smoking can lead to weight gain. Nicotine, present in both cigarettes and many e-cigarettes, can suppress appetite and increase metabolism, potentially leading to weight loss.

However, the health risks associated with vaping make it an unsafe method for weight management.

Vaping involves inhaling a mixture of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals, many of which are potentially harmful and can cause lung damage. Furthermore, nicotine is highly addictive, and vaping can sometimes expose smokers to higher concentrations of nicotine than traditional cigarettes.

While vaping may be a useful tool for those trying to quit smoking, it should not be used as a weight loss strategy.

4 Tips for Weight Management After Giving Up Smoking

 If you’re worried about weight gain after giving up smoking, here are some tips to try without turning to vaping. 

Try Sugar-Free Gum

Sugar-free gum is an excellent choice to keep your mouth working without introducing calories or addictive substances to your system. It’s also an effective way to manage unhealthy eating habits

Take Up an Exercise Routine

Getting physically active not only burns energy but can also help you reduce your cravings. It also can replace harmful habits such as eating junk food or smoking as your natural endorphins begin to surface.

Develop Healthy Eating Habits

Healthy eating habits can help you maintain your weight—or even lose some pounds. A balanced meal can also keep you satiated, thus reducing unhealthy food cravings in the first place. 

An all-in-one weight loss app can assist you in easily creating a healthy eating routine that works for you. 

Get Enough Sleep

It’s easier to give into bad habits when you’re cranky and tired. A good night’s sleep leaves you refreshed and focused, making it easier to make better decisions that benefit your health. 

Final Words

To summarize, does vaping help you lose weight? Yes, it can if you use nicotine vapes, but it doesn’t come without risks.

Nicotine suppresses appetite, increases metabolism, and can reduce food cravings. This can help you with weight control. However, you should read the fine print before considering it as a weight-loss option. 

Although it comes with somewhat lower risks than tobacco smoking, vaping is not a healthy practice in itself. It can cause a host of health issues, can be highly addictive, and in certain instances, can deliver even higher doses of nicotine than regular cigarettes.

Vaping can help you phase out smoking and eventually quit the habit. In this case, you might try vaping as a short-term strategy for smoking cessation but not as a weight loss method. 

And if you are a non-smoker, it’s not recommended to consider vaping as a means of weight reduction.

On the whole, sustainable weight loss is all about creating a healthy lifestyle that you can continue for years to come. While it might be tempting to try short-term weight loss methods, they mostly do more harm than good. 

Turning to unhealthy addictions in the hopes of controlling weight can create long-term health issues that counteract the benefits of weight loss. 

Therefore, the best strategy is to conquer your pounds with consistent and viable lifestyle habits. You can also get the help of a nutritionist if you feel like you need more support and professional guidance. 

Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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