Obese people are more likely to indulge in smoking, a research conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) shows.
IARC, a World Health Organization (WHO) agency, published the study on Thursday, noting that increased body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and even waist circumference, were associated with “a higher risk of being a smoker, and with greater smoking intensity, measured by the number of cigarettes smoked per day”.
“Based on genetic markers of obesity, the study allows us to better understand the complex relationship between obesity and important smoking habits,” said Dr. Brennan, a genetic epidemiology expert with IARC, and one of the authors of the study.
Brennan added that the study showing the relationship between body mass and smoking also suggested that there was possibly a “common biological basis for addictive behaviours, such as nicotine addiction and higher energy intake”.
He went on to state that an understanding of this link could be useful in helping smokers quit the unhealthy practice.
According to WHO, smoking kills more than 7 million people each year.
While noting that most smokers have a lower body weight on average than non-smokers, the study stated that the prior gain weight after they stop smoking.
“However, among smokers, those who smoke more intensively, tend to weigh more,” said IARC.
IARC Director, Dr. Christopher Wild, said that “prevention of smoking is key to reducing the global burden of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes”.