, Volume 103, Issue 1, pp 103–109 | Cite as

Acute effects of nicotine on hunger and caloric intake in smokers and nonsmokers

  • Kenneth A. Perkins
  • Leonard H. Epstein
  • Richard L. Stiller
  • Madelyn H. Fernstrom
  • Joan E. Sexton
  • Rolf G. Jacob
  • Rena Solberg
Original Investigations


The inverse relationship between smoking and body weight may be due in part to nicotine's effects on reducing hunger and eating. Male smokers and nonsmokers (n=10 each), abstinent overnight from smoking and food, participated in four sessions, involving consumption of a liquid caloric load or water followed by nicotine (15 µg/kg) or placebo via nasal spray every 20 min for 2 h. Hunger and satiety (“fullness”) ratings were obtained prior to each dose presentation. At the end of the two sessions involving the caloric load (simulating breakfast), subjects were also presented with typical lunch/snack food items varying in sweet taste and fat content for ad lib consumption. Results indicated that, for both smokers and nonsmokers, the hunger-reducing effects of nicotine occurred only following caloric load consumption, and there was no effect of nicotine on hunger after water consumption. Smokers unexpectedly reported greater satiation than nonsmokers following the caloric load regardless of nicotine or placebo condition. Nicotine also resulted in less caloric intake during the meal, and the decrease was not specific to consumption of sweet, high-fat foods. These results indicate that nicotine reduces appetite, possibly helping to explain the influence of smoking on body weight.

Key words

Nicotine Hunger Caloric intake Smokers Nonsmokers 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth A. Perkins
    • 1
  • Leonard H. Epstein
    • 1
  • Richard L. Stiller
    • 1
  • Madelyn H. Fernstrom
    • 1
  • Joan E. Sexton
    • 1
  • Rolf G. Jacob
    • 1
  • Rena Solberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Psychiatric Institute & ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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