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Health Psychol. 1992;11 Suppl:4-9.

National working conference on smoking and body weight. Task Force 1: Mechanisms relevant to the relations between cigarette smoking and body weight.


Careful, comprehensive, and empirical observations provide the building blocks of the sciences, whereas theory and mechanisms provide the "cement" to hold the blocks together and serve as blueprints to direct future building. This article resulted from several days of discussion regarding theories that may underlie the relation between cigarette smoking and body weight and the relation between smoking cessation and body weight. The working group composed of social and biological scientists who addressed this assignment considered what is already known within the smoking and body weight literature and also considered relevant findings from studies of smoking or body weight regulation that have not directly addressed the interaction of these variables. As expected, we were successful at listing some of what is not known and what is worth knowing. We also tried to identify fruitful possibilities for research activity that might clarify mechanisms of action and eventually lead to theoretical development. Because we do not believe that the present state of our deliberations merits the label of theories, we decided, instead, to report the summary of these deliberations as potential mechanisms relevant to the relation between smoking and body weight.

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