Obesity has overtaken smoking as the number one killer. And it may actually be healthy--Texas A&M researchers found nicotine curbs hunger, aids with weight loss and may even slow aging. Doctors still say cigarettes are a healthy enemy but there might be one friendly source of nicotine--vaping. An e-cigarette with low levels of nicotine prevents Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, boosts brain activity. It could make the bigger killer, obesity, go up in smoke!

Nicotine isn't all bad but all weight problems are

The vape crowd has been bragging for years that nicotine may not harm and may actually be beneficial to your health.

If it helps obese folks lose weight and not-overweight people stay thin, that's not all bad. Obesity took over from smoking as the new leading killer in lifestyle diseases. That's because obesity brings so many problems with it--diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, mobility, liver problems, heart disease, inflammation, sleep apnea and more. Also, many more people have weight problems than are smokers--two-thirds of folks have BMI (body mass index) over 25 (overweight) and 34 percent of those are obese with a BMI over 30.

Positive health trifecta of nicotine

After all the bad things you've read about nicotine this may come as a shock, but nicotine works three ways to boost health. It curbs hunger and helps people avoid overeating.

As an appetite suppressant it aids weight loss. And when people eat less and stay at a healthy weight, it gives their brain more to move. It prevents swelling and inflammation of tissue which reduces brain shrinking that obesity causes. Nicotine can boost mental functioning too.

Vaping vs. smoking

Clearly the evidence doesn't support smoking but vaping could be the solution.

Instead of smoke, vapers inhale steam from e-liquid which may or may not contain nicotine. Vaping aids smoking cessation as you can dial down the amount of nicotine unlike patches or gum which is one strength. Those who've quit smoking with vape find the experience more pleasant than cigarettes (cigars, pipes, tobacco). The funky flavors actually taste and smell good. For weight loss, one might want to avoid "chocolate truffle" or some other flavor that tastes like treat food. There are tons of flavors to choose from.