Obese people more likely to smoke – study

Obese people are more likely to be smokers, a new study has found.

Obesity and smoking both cause complicated health problems but their relationship with each other is not well understood.

So researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the University of Bristol set out to examine whether genetic markers of obesity were linked to smoking.

Using UK Biobank data with genetic information on nearly 450 000 participants, the researchers found that increased weight and obesity may result in increased smoking.

Increased body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, and waist circumference were associated both with a higher risk of being a smoker and a greater number of cigarettes smoked each day, according to the study published in The British Medical Journal (The BMJ).

One of the authors, Dr Paul Brennan, from the IARC, said: “Based on genetic markers of obesity, the study allows us to better understand the complex relationship between obesity and important smoking habits such as smoking initiation and intensity, as well as the impact of obesity on smoking cessation.

“The study also suggests that the link between BMI and tobacco exposure may originate in a common biological basis for addictive behaviours, such as nicotine addiction and higher energy intake.”

- Press Association

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