Most of us are concerned about our weight, either for health or aesthetic reasons. The surging popularity of e-cigarettes, both as a lifestyle choice and as an aid for stopping smoking has led many to ask the question – can vaping make you fat?
As with so many issues around both weight gain and smoking, the answer is complicated, but here we are going to discuss some of the key factors that will hopefully help you make informed and healthy decisions about your weight when vaping.
Firstly, lets tackle some of the myths that have arisen around the question of can vaping make you fat.
When e-liquids are available in such an array of incredible flavours, it's easy to think that they might have the same effect on your body as a sweet treat – but this is not the case.Weight gain happens when you are consuming calories at a faster rate than your body is burning calories. Most e-liquids are made up of two primary ingredients, vegetable glycerine and propylene glycol, which have negligible calorie values, around 4kcal per ml.
For comparison purposes, a single digestive biscuit is 71kcals.
You do not ingest calories while vaping. Inhaling and exhaling an e-liquid product is not the same as ingesting a product of a similar calorific value. Calorie values are calculated based on the energy released when a substance's ingredients are burned under lab conditions, regardless of how your body interacts with that substance.
The calorie value listed on some e-liquids is only an energy value for the substance in the bottle, and there is no evidence to suggest that this could be a factor in weight gain.
Quitting Smoking and Weight Gain:
If you're using tobacco e-liquids to quit smoking, you may find that you gain some weight initially. This is because e-liquids contain less nicotine than traditional cigarettes.
Nicotine can affect your weight in two ways – it is an appetite suppressant, and it speeds up your metabolism. This means that when you smoke, you probably eat less than you would do otherwise, and your body burns the calories of what you do eat faster.
When people reduce their nicotine intake, their metabolism is likely to slow down, and many people report an increased appetite. These changes can lead to some weight gain, but it is not vaping, causing the increase in these cases.
Smoking also detrimentally affects your sense of taste. When you stop smoking and switch to vaping, food often tastes more appealing, making you more likely to overindulge.
Weight gain is a significant concern for many people looking to quit smoking; however, while we've been worrying if vaping can make you fat, it might be the case that vaping using e-liquids could actually help traditional cigarette smokers from gaining weight on their journey to quit smoking.
Vaping and Weight Loss
Even though Vaping can have a weight loss effect for some users, this should not be your primary reason for vaping.
Vaping's relationship to weight loss is split between two categories, neither of which relates to nutrition or fitness.
On the one hand, vaping (and, for that matter, smoking) bears a behavioural similarity to snacking. The repeated action of bringing an item to your mouth, and if you use flavoured e-liquids, the sweet and enjoyable taste of the product as you inhale. This can either sate or replace cravings for sweet and fattening foods.
The second category only applies if you are using e-liquids that contain nicotine. The nicotine in these products may suppress appetite and increase your metabolism in the same way that traditional cigarettes do, as discussed above, but on a smaller scale.
This means that if vaping is your first experience with nicotine products, you may find that you lose a small amount of weight.
If you are concerned about your weight, you should speak to a healthcare professional about your fitness and eating habits and plan to tackle any problems through diet and exercise.
Can vaping make you fat? No, not really.
The calorie content of nicotine-free e-liquids is very low. Unless you are ingesting the liquid (which you definitely shouldn't be doing!), vaping will not affect your calorie intake.
The effects of nicotine in e-liquids is more complicated, but if you are using vaping as an alternative to smoking, you may gain a small amount of weight in the first instance due to decreased nicotine consumption.
However, this weight gain is likely to be significantly smaller than the weight gain that is typical when ceasing nicotine intake altogether without the aid of e-liquids.
Finally, all of our bodies are different, and you should discuss any concerns you have about your weight with a doctor, as vaping is almost definitely not what is causing any change in size that you might be worried about.