THE mystery surrounding why smokers put on weight after quitting the habit may have been solved by Spanish researchers.
The discovery of a link between nicotine and the enzyme responsible for controlling appetite and energy consumption could now be used to help combat obesity.
Scientists at Santiago de Compostela University found that nicotine suppresses the enzyme, which may explain why 70 per cent of smokers put on weight after quitting.
Elsewhere, a study has found that the number of smokers in Spain has increased in the last five years, despite the introduction of tougher anti-smoking laws last year.
The number of smokers has risen to 17.6 per cent, a growth of 0.5 per cent compared to 2007, according to the Spanish Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery.