Tobacco And Obesity

ALTHOUGH excessive smoking may prevent a lean person from getting fat, no physician would advocate excessive smoking as a means of reducing weight.

But smoking, like thyroid medication, has its reduction merits and can be either a foe or an ally in fighting the onslaught of obesity.

I have no wish to become a partisan in the famous tobacco vs. sugar battle. But it must be conceded that in the obese a smoke before meals tends to diminish the abnormal desire for food. How vastly better to smoke a cigarette while waiting for food service than to munch the deadly bread and butter which is always placed before us as a bulwark against our impatience.

A cigarette makes an excellent filler-in and substitute for a course which our obesity diet excludes. It also gives the hands and mouth some-thing to do at a time when such specialized organs are in use by our table companions.

A smoke as a dessert substitute is excellent, having satiety value equal to, if not greater, than sweet desserts or various candies.

Though we do not claim therapeutic value for smoke or assert that smoking is absolutely harm-less we do maintain that its potentiality for harm is infinitesimal compared with the harm that sugar-eating can do. The smoke habit can assist in breaking the sugar habit, but the converse is not true.

As a laxative, a cigarette smoked while waiting for nature to operate hastens peristaltic activity and thus helps the body to throw off its toxins and thus correct tissue lethargy.

I cannot speak so approvingly of the pipe or cigar. The harmful effect of smoking increases as the rate of combustion decreases. In the cigar and pipe, combustion is slower and less complete be-cause of the bulk of the tobacco. There is greater vaporization of the contained chemicals. The cigarette being smaller and with greater exposure to the air allows of more complete oxidation. Of course, if we exclude the baneful effects of weight reducing modalities we concede that the pipe and cigar have greater weight-reducing power than the cigarette but medical judgment forbids the recommendation of these factors for reducing weight.