Electronic cigarettes could be used to help fight obesity in smokers and vapers, researchers believe.
Scientists claim the e-liquids with food flavourings could replicate some of the sensations of eating and when combined with the vapour in electronic cigarettes and the hand-to-mouth action of vaping could help smokers who are trying to quit to eat less.
A review of existing research published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research found nicotine inhibits appetite and and assists with weight control.
Linda Bauld, professor of health policy at the University of Stirling and deputy director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, is among the experts exploring whether vaping with or without nicotine could help people ignore cravings for sweets and other foods.
She said: "Several lines of investigation are worth pursuing in the fight against obesity and this review sets out an initial research agenda for how e-cigarettes could play a part in helping people who smoke or vape control their weight, particularly if they are trying to stop smoking.
"Weight gain prevents some smokers from quitting so we need to explore alternative ways of helping these individuals control their weight, while removing the risks of tobacco use.
"The benefits of e-cigarettes for smokers have been shown to far outweigh the harms, as vaping carries around 5% of the risk of smoking. However, this paper is not suggesting that we should promote e-cigarettes to non-smokers or non-vapers for weight management.
"Our health care systems are currently struggling to cope with caring for people with chronic conditions caused by obesity and smoking. Even controversial approaches that could contribute to current efforts to address this are worth investigating."