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Nicotine Tob Res. 1999 Dec;1(4):365-70.

The effect of smoking on energy expenditure and plasma catecholamine and nicotine levels during light physical activity.

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Cardiopulmonary Science Program, School of Allied Health Sciences, University of Louisville, Kentucky, USA.


A number of studies have found that cigarette smoking causes an acute increase in resting energy expenditure, but the effect on energy expenditure during light physical activity is less clear. Since both smoking and activity have been shown to increase plasma catecholamines, these could produce additive effects on energy expenditure when smoking during light physical activity. In this study, the impact of cigarette smoking on energy expenditure, cardiovascular function, plasma nicotine and plasma catecholamine levels was determined in adult male subjects at rest and while engaged in light physical activity. Smoking at rest resulted in a 3.6% increase in energy expenditure above the resting baseline; whereas the increase in energy expenditure caused by smoking during light physical activity (compared with the light physical activity baseline) was 6.3%. This increase during light physical activity was significantly greater than the increase observed at rest (p < 0.025). As expected, plasma nicotine increased with smoking during both rest and light physical activity. An increase in plasma nicotine was associated with smoking during light physical activity. When this increase was adjusted as a covariate, the difference in smoking-related energy expenditure between light physical activity and rest disappeared, suggesting nicotine accounts for the effect. Plasma epinephrine and norepinephrine levels increased with smoking and showed a significantly greater increase during light physical activity compared to rest. Cigarette smoking caused a significantly greater increase in heart rate during light physical activity than it did while at rest, but there was no significant effect of smoking on mean blood pressure. It was concluded that there is enhanced energy expenditure associated with cigarette smoking during light physical activity when compared with smoking at rest which could be due in part to smoking-induced increases in circulating plasma catecholamines and perhaps nicotine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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