Maybe smokers trying to quit don't need to spend money on smoking cessation programs and products.
Maybe all they need is a trip to their supermarket produce section.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo found the more fruit and vegetables a smoker consumed, the more likely they were to be tobacco-free for at least 30 days after quitting.
And the findings stayed the same when adjustments were made to take into account age, gender, race, 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.
"Other studies have taken a snapshot approach, asking smokers and nonsmokers about their diets," said Gary A. Giovino, PhD, chair of the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at UB. "We knew from our previous work that people who were abstinent from cigarettes for less than six months consumed more fruits and vegetables than those who still smoked.
"We may have identified a new tool that can help people quit smoking," said Jeffrey P. Haibach, first author on the paper and graduate research assistant in the UB Department of Community Health and Health Behavior. "Granted, this is just an observational study, but improving one's diet may facilitate quitting."
The researchers see several possible explanations, such as less nicotine dependence for people who consume a lot of fruits and vegetables or the fact that higher fiber consumption from fruits and vegetables make people feel fuller.
And 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. In fact, Haibach says foods like fruit and vegetables may actually worsen the taste of cigarettes.
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