Smokers who consume plenty of fruits and vegetables are three times more likely to quit
Eating fruit and vegetables may help to smoke less cigarettes a day and to get rid of a nicotine addiction, according to a new study published online by University at Buffalo public health researchers.
The authors surveyed 1,000 smokers aged 25 and older from around the country, using random-digit dialing telephone interviews. They followed up with the respondents fourteen months later, asking them if they had abstained from tobacco use during the previous month.
The UB study found that smokers who consumed the most fruit and vegetables were three times more likely to be tobacco-free for at least 30 days at follow-up 14 months later than those consuming the lowest amount of fruits and vegetables. These findings persisted even when adjustments were made to take into account age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, household income and health orientation.
They also found that smokers with higher fruit and vegetable consumption smoked fewer cigarettes per day, waited longer to smoke their first cigarette of the day and scored lower on a common test of nicotine dependence.
Why fruits and vegetables have this effect is still unclear, but the scientists offered some thoughts about it:
- Fruits and Vegetables make people feel fuller with its higher fiber content so that they feel less of a need to smoke, since smokers sometimes confuse hunger with an urge to smoke.
- Fruits and Vegetables – in contrast to meats, caffeinated beverages and alcohol – do not enhance, and may actually worsen, the taste of tobacco.
This is just an observational study, but improving one's diet may facilitate quitting.
The UB researchers caution that more research is needed to determine if these findings replicate and if they do, to identify the mechanisms that explain how fruit and vegetable consumption may help smokers quit. They also see a need for research on other dietary components and smoking cessation.
The above story is based on the June 5, 2012 news release by University at Buffalo.
The research was published May 21, 2012Nicotine & Tobacco Research a peer-reviewed journals devoted exclusively to the study of nicotine and tobacco: Haibach JP, Homish GG, Giovino GA. A Longitudinal Evaluation of Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Cigarette Smoking. Nicotine Tob Res, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/ntr/nts130