Scientists have found that smokers who consume lots of fruit and vegetables were three times more successful at quitting.
The findings persisted even when adjustments were made for age, gender, race, education, household income and health.
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.
“We may have identified a new tool that can help people quit smoking,” says Jeffrey P. Haibach, of the University of Buffalo’s Department of Community Health and Health Behavior.
One possibility, he says, is 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,”
And unlike some foods, fruits and vegetables do not enhance the taste of tobacco.
“Foods like fruit and vegetables may actually worsen the taste of cigarettes,” says Haibach.
The results of the study are published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research