B oth overeating and dieting have been framed in different moments and arguments as (at least potential) addictions. Beyond the metaphor of food/diet as a drug, cigarettes have historically played and continue to play a part in dieting culture. A number of both illicit and legal drugs—including speed, nicotine, opium, cocaine, caffeine, Ritalin, and MDMA ("Ecstasy") among others— are widely acknowledged to be used as appetite suppressants. Some findings suggest that, at least in the case of smoking, this effect is largely mythical and that smoking does not in fact affect food intake (Perkins i992: i93-205; Zancy and de Witt 1992). Research indicates that there may, however, be physiological reasons for weight gain after quitting, though it is highly variable by age and socioeconomic status (Filozof et al. 1992).
Cigarettes are prominently linked in dieting practice and in the popular imagination to weight loss. Marketing of cigarettes to women beginning in the 1920s made the claim explicit and initiated an image of smoking as a smart and effective weight-loss strategy. American Tobacco advertisers Edward Bernays and George Washington Hill famously launched the slogan "Reach for a Lucky instead of a Sweet" in 1928. Other Lucky ads from the same era showed the face of a thin, young woman with the shadow of a larger face with double chins in the background. These images were accompanied by alarmist text, such as "THE MENACING SHADOW that threatens the modern figure!" and "WARN HER ere her bloom is past" (Segrave 2005).
Since then, Lucky Strikes, Capri, Misty, More, and Virginia Slims have all used similar campaigns that highlight the pro-metabolic effects of nicotine more or less overtly (Boyd et al. 1999-2000: 19-31).
Recent anti-smoking initiatives have had to contend with this association in a culture obsessed with slimness. Weight concerns have been cited in numerous studies as a factor (especially for younger women) in the decision to smoke and/or to continue smoking (Silberstein 2002; Strauss and Mir 2001: 1381-5; Tomeo et al. 1999: 918-24). Some say concern about weight gain is the number one factor in the decision not to quit (Filozof et al. 1992: 149-57). Another study found that among female smokers, dieters (smokers concerned with weight gain), had shorter periods of cessation of smoking and were less likely to finally quit (Jarry et al. 1998: 53-64). Interestingly, dieters were also more likely than nondieters to gain weight upon quitting. Indeed, as one self-confessed sufferer from anorexia nervosa stated, she "learned 'diet tricks' from older dancers [when she was a teenager]. Coffee and cigarettes soon became my staple diet I was dieting like everyone else" (Rose 2002: i0i ).
Weight gain is addressed explicitly in antismoking research and advertising, which increasingly includes diet and exercise tips (like munch on carrot sticks when you have a craving) for avoiding the gain associated with quitting. While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cracked down on the marketing of "Trim Reducing-Aid
Cigarettes" (containing tartaric acid) as a treatment for overweight in 1959, the move away from explicit medi-calization has clearly not quelled the powerful association of smoking and weight loss.
Yet there is an argument that the combination of smoking and overweight increases the risk for a wide range of diseases. While, in general, it is impossible to make an absolute correlation between weight and illness, it is clear that even individuals who have a lower weight and smoke are at greater risk for illness (Bjorntorp 2002: 377-81). As with other illnesses that reduce weight but increase mortality and morbidity, such as depression or alcoholism, smoking is a major co-factor in shortening the life span. Yet, even for smokers, the greater the weight, the higher the risk for fatal illnesses. A thin smoker will, at least statistically, outlive a fat smoker (Manson et al. 2002: 422-8).
SLG/Angela Willey See also Anorexia; Binge-eating; Socioecomomic Status
Bjorntorp, Per (2002) "Definition and Classification of Obesity," in Christopher G. Fairburn and Kelly D. Brownell (eds), Eating Disorders and Obesity: A Comprehensive Handbook, 2nd edn, New York: Guilford Press, pp. 377-81. Boyd, C., Boyd, T., and Cash, J. (1999-2000) "Why Is Virginia Slim? Women and Cigarette Advertising," International Quarterly of Community Health Education 19: 19-31. Brandt, Allan M. (2007) The Cigarette Century: The Rise, Fall, and Deadly Persistence of the Product That Defined America, New York: Basic Books. Filozof, C., Fernández Pinilla, M.C., and Fernández-Cruz, A. (1992) "Smoking Cessation and Weight Gain," Addictive Behaviors 17 (2): 149-57. Jarry, Josée L., Robert B. Coambs, Janet Polivy, and C. Peter Herman (1998) "Weight Gain After Smoking
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Manson, Joann E., Skerrett, Patrick J., and Willett, Walter C. (2002) "Epidemiology of Health Risks Associated with Obesity," in Christopher G. Fairburn and Kelly D. Brownell (eds), Eating Disorders and Obesity: A Comprehensive Handbook, 2nd edn, New York: Guilford Press, pp. 422-8.
Parker-Pope, T. (2001) Cigarettes: Anatomy of an Industry from Seed to Smoke, New York: New York Press.
Perkins, Kenneth (1992) "Effects of Tobacco Smoking on Caloric Intake," British Journal of Addiction 87 (2): 193-205.
"Rose," (2002) "Understanding the Whole Person: Rose's Story," in, Kathleen M. Berg, Dermot J. Hurley, James A. McSherry and Nancy E. Strange, eds. Eating Disorders: A Patient Centered Approach, Abingdon: Radcliffe Medical Press, pp. 99-115.
Segrave, K. (2005) Women and Smoking in America, 1880-1950, Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company.
Silberstein, Nina (2002) "Girls Worried About Weight More Likely to Smoke," American Council on Science and Health, available online at <http://www.acsh.org/ healthissues/newsID.376/healthissue_detail.asp> (accessed March 3, 2007).
Strauss, R.S. and Mir, H.M. (2001) "Smoking and Weight Loss Attempts in Overweight and Normal-Weight Adolescents," International Journal of Obesity 25 (9): 1381-5.
Tomeo, Catherine A., Field, Alison E., Berkey, Catherine S., Colditz, Graham A., and Frazier, A. Lindsay (1999) "Weight Concerns, Weight Control Behaviors, and Smoking Initiation," Pediatrics 104 (4 pt 1): 918-24.
Zancy, J.P. and Witt, H. de (1992) "The Effects of a Restricted Feeding Regimen on Cigarette Smoking in Humans," Addictive Behaviors 17 (2): 149-57.
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