The health hazards of smoking cessation.

Health and medicine explained.
Oct. 13 2005 11:57 AM

Smoke-Free and Fat

The health hazards of kicking the habit.

(Continued from Page 1)

So, after all of these years of vilification, should doctors tell patients at risk for obesity to light up? Is it possible that cigarettes do more good than harm?

Please. The trail of misery, illness, and death etched by cigarettes remains unparalleled in the history of mankind. That part's simple.

Advertisement

What isn't simple is what to do next. A proposal: The link between obesity and not smoking is another reason for the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco, as the agency never has, despite all those surgeon general's warnings. It defies belief that, in 2005, tobacco companies are not required to specify what they put in their product. If scientists knew exactly what cigarettes consist of, they could ferret out what might be contributing to weight control. Is it the nicotine itself, which has been shown to suppress appetite (though nicotine patches don't seem to work too well)? Is it simply sucking on something all day? Or something else altogether?

Were the tobacco industry to help answer these questions, it could (maybe) start to redeem itself for decades of public-health abuse. Imagine—the industry could announce that stopping the epidemic of obesity is its new goal. I suspect, however, that the tobacco companies will keep their products in the shadows, away from scientific inquiry. They'll stick with their plans to addict Asia, Africa, and beyond. And Americans will get ever fatter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.