BUFFALO, N.Y.—Smokers trying to kick the habit might want to think about reaching for fruits and vegetables the next time they get a nicotine craving, according to a new study published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions examined the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and smoking cessation. They surveyed 1,000 smokers aged 25 and older from around the country, using random-digit dialing telephone interviews. They followed up with the respondents 14 months later, asking them if they had abstained from tobacco use during the previous month.
They found smokers who consumed the most fruit and vegetables were three times more likely to be tobacco-free for at least 30 days at follow-up 14 months later than those consuming the lowest amount of fruits and vegetables. The findings persisted even when adjustments were made to take into account age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, household income and health orientation.
They also found that smokers with higher fruit and vegetable consumption smoked fewer cigarettes per day, waited longer to smoke their first cigarette of the day and scored lower on a common test of nicotine dependence.
"It is also possible that fruits and vegetables give people more of a feeling of satiety or fullness so that they feel less of a need to smoke, since smokers sometimes confuse hunger with an urge to smoke," the researchers said, adding that unlike some foods which are known to enhance the taste of tobacco, such as meats, caffeinated beverages and alcohol, fruits and vegetables do not enhance the taste of tobacco.