SCIENTISTS have discovered why many smokers put on weight when they try to quit the habit.

The discovery paves the way for the introduction of new drugs that could counter the problem.

Scientists at Yale University found that when nicotine hits one type of protein in the brain it triggers cravings for cigarettes, while a second protein sets off a reaction that dampens the appetite.

They also discovered that a certain type of drug can trigger the second protein.

The fact that nicotine cravings are tied into a different protein is important, because it means that any diet drug would not also make people start craving tobacco.

However, after two diet ‘wonder drugs’ were banned over safety fears, any new drug would have to pass stringent safety tests before being made available.

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