Back to all posts

epiAge Experience: Experiment 3 – Quitting smoking

Experience epiAge!

Dr. Gwen Bingle
July 25, 2023

Missed our intro as well as experiment one and two? Here you go…

Ready to take the next plunge into the world of anecdotal evidence? 

Stopping smoking is a GOOD thing, isn’t it? Of course, it is! Epigenetically, however, the waters are rather muddied initially.

As any seasoned ex-smoker will tell you, the first days can be really challenging… First, there are the old reflexes that need to be reprogrammed since there are so many places, people and activities associated with the habit. Also, because smoking triggers the brain’s reward system, it is tempting to replace the former addiction by another, such as (junk) food or alcohol. This can keep ex-smokers trapped in the addiction cycle and lead to substantial weight gain. Indeed, nicotine is known to modulate energy homeostasis in the body since, among other things, it increases energy expenditure and thermogenesis (cf. e.g., Stojakovic & al, 2017). 

Underlying these phenomena is the stress generated by renouncing the addiction and the fear of relapsing, not to mention the (potentially chronic) stress that smoking was initially supposed to help manage (cf. e.g., Grabowska & al., 2023) .

As we know, both weight gain (cf. e.g., Rajado & al. 2023; Galkin & al. 2023) and acute stress (cf. e.g., Poganik, Horvath & al. 2023) have a negative impact on biological age. This is what our test person (N=1; M) found out after he had quit smoking – even though he initially softened the blow with nicotine gum. Indeed, his weight increased by about 5 kg over the course of the following two months and his BMI (over 25) hasn’t budged since. While monitoring his biological age during the same period, he was struck by a sharp increase of almost 7 years that only began to taper off after a month.

graph depicting biological age acceleration after quitting smoking

These anecdotal findings beg the question of whether the body is initially struggling with detoxification and homeostatic regulation, weight gain or cumulated stress management. It seems likely though, that all these elements conspire to trigger a steep biological age acceleration before the individual returns to baseline or (hopefully!) rejuvenates.

In parallel, our test person played “lab rat” with a new test, which is in our beta-testing phase, namely the epiSmoke test. As opposed to the epiAge test that focuses on 13 CpGs that best correlate with biological ageing, the epiSmoke test specifically highlights exposure to smoke. Here the time frame was 6 months and the initial test performed before quitting smoking showed the poor results to be expected from a heavy smoker. But just 6 months after quitting, the test person obtained values that showed great improvement. So, yes, it IS worth quitting, even if it initially rocks your biological boat!

Have you recently stopped smoking and measured your biological age before and after? If yes, we would be curious to hear about your experience! And if you’re still considering quitting, why not monitor your progress with our robust epiAge test?



Stojakovic A, Espinosa EP, Farhad OT, Lutfy K. Effects of nicotine on homeostatic and hedonic components of food intake. J Endocrinol. 2017 Oct; 235(1):R13-R31. doi:10.1530/JOE-17-0166. Online:

Grabowska,K. ; Ziemichód, W. ; Biała, G. Recent Studies on the Development of Nicotine Abuse and Behavioral Changes Induced by Chronic Stress Depending on Gender. Brain Sci. 2023, 13, 121. Online:

Rajado AT, Silva N, Esteves F, Brito D, Binnie A, Araújo IM, Nóbrega C, Bragança J, Castelo-Branco P; ALFA Score Consortium. How can we modulate aging through nutrition and physical exercise? An epigenetic approach. Aging (Albany NY). 2023 Apr 20;15(8):3191-3217. doi: 10.18632/aging.204668. Online:  

Fedor Galkin, Olga Kovalchuk, Diana Koldasbayeva, Alex Zhavoronkov, Evelyne Bischof, Stress, diet, exercise: Common environmental factors and their impact on epigenetic age, Ageing Research Reviews, Volume 88, 2023, Online:

Jesse R. Poganik, Bohan Zhang, Gurpreet S. Baht, Alexander Tyshkovskiy, Amy Deik, Csaba Kerepesi, Sun Hee Yim, Ake T. Lu, Amin Haghani, Tong Gong, Anna M. Hedman, Ellika Andolf, Göran Pershagen, Catarina Almqvist, Clary B. Clish, Steve Horvath, James P. White, Vadim N. Gladyshev, „Biological age is increased by stress and restored upon recovery“, Cell Metabolism,Volume 35, Issue 5, 2023, 807-820.e5, Online:


Basil MK / pexels

Dr. Gwen Bingle
epiAge Deutschland Content & Customer Relations
Back to all posts
© 2024