From raw food to going vegan and slurping copious amounts of cabbage soup, we as a nation have never wavered in our pursuit of a simple route to getting rid of those extra pounds. In modern consumer markets though, the emphasis firmly lies on issues of ‘healthy weight loss’ and a ‘lifestyle change’ rather than falling victim to yet another fad diet.

Endorsing vaping as a weight loss tool then is bound to stimulate raging debate amongst health professionals, nutritionists and the public alike.

Rewind to the 40s and 50s when smoking was all the rage, and you’ll find that many people’s reason for taking up smoking focused on ‘the weight loss issue’. Doctors prescribed the recently coined ‘cancer sticks’ for the purpose of combatting obesity and nicotine was a well-known appetite suppressant. Besides this, having a cigarette in your mouth served as a block for eating; a 50’s advert reads:

‘To keep a slender figure, no one can deny Lucky Strike Cigarettes. Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet!’

Lucky Strike Cigarette advert

It makes sense then that companies are utilising the weight loss angle when trying to promote vaping.

Controversial? Maybe. But the argument that the effects of vaping are less harmful than the effects of being obese is a viable one; in the same way doctors prescribed cigarettes for obesity in past, they could now prescribe vape pens.

People who avoid quitting smoking due to fears of putting on weight might well be convinced to switch to vaping instead.

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Vaping enthusiast Ash lost a staggering 6 stone in the space of 6 months, going from 16 stone down to just ten. He says “After replacing my cigarette habit with vaping, I was suddenly able to hit the gym, hard! I used to get on the treadmill and have to stop after five minutes. Now I’ve quit smoking I can work out properly. Plus, the flavours mean when I’m craving something sweet I’ll just vape, rather than snack. The weight just dropped off really easily.”

Vapor Diet came into existence December 2013, promoting ‘vaping’ as the new way to lose weight. The idea is that customers use their custom made ‘itasteMPV’, essentially a vape pen, to puff on their extensive range of flavours and trick their body into feeling ‘fulfilled’.

They claim that on inhalation of flavours such as pizza, cheesecake and banana split sundae, your taste bud and smell receptors will send messages to your brain, tricking it into thinking you have indulged in your favourite take-away or sweet snack, when in actual fact you’ve ingested zero calories. Coupled with the fact that your mouth is busy vaping (consequently not eating) and appetite suppressant Garcinia Cambogia is added to the e-liquid, this vaping business might not be far off an actual weight loss miracle. And there’s proof.

Dr Hirsch and Dr Gomez carried out a study, entitled ‘The Role of Specific Olfactory Stimulation in Appetite Suppression and Weight Loss’. 80 subjects were provided with either the Diet Pens (n=40) or placebo pens (n=40). Subjects were instructed to use the pens containing the specially formulated scents or those containing placebo scents before meals, snacks, or whenever they felt the urge to eat. They were weighed each week for a duration of 8 weeks.

Subjects using the pens containing the specially formulated scents lost an average of 19.15 lbs. (11.68% of body weight) compared to placebo scents who lost on average 3.85 Ibs (2.43% of body weight).

Subjects using the pens containing the specially formulated scents as a weight loss tool wereable to lose a significant amount of weight over the course of the study, while subjects using the placebo version did not see significant degrees of weight loss.
This study confirms that the inhalation of certain aromas can aid in appetite control and weight loss, a result for Vapor Diet and indeed the whole vaping industry.

However, whilst there’s no doubt that Vapor Diet can prove effective for weight loss, there are grave marketing issues; their catch phrase, “Inhale, Indulge, lose Weight.” could be seen as propaganda, with a view to enlisting non-smokers. The theory is that non-smokers will be enticed by the easy weight loss element, and then progress to smoking cigarettes in time – it is thought that the vape pen could act as a gateway drug.

In its defence, vaping is strictly for over 18’s who in theory should be mature enough to make their own informed decisions. Other concerns surround the appetite suppressant added to the e-liquid, however the FDA allow more harmful diet pills and drugs on the market, making this a healthy alternative.

The general consensus is if you’re already a smoker then it’s a good way to kill two birds with one stone, lose weight and kick your tobacco habit. However, as a non-smoker, it may not be the best thing to encourage an addiction to nicotine. Still, on balance, studies have shown a positive correlation between vaping and weight loss, hence it’s just a matter of prioritising one health issue (obesity) over another.

Chris Polenski
Chris Polenski