Researchers from the University of New South Wales and the University of Melbourne have found that smokers often give the appearance of being thinner because of the loss of muscle mass, but the fat indeed remains stored around their vital organs.
The researchers studied mice for over seven weeks. They exposed half of the rodents to smoke from four cigarettes a day for six days a week, while the other half remained smoke free.
While mice on the smoke diet ate about 23 per cent less, their fat mass kept to similar levels.
Fiona Sharkie, the executive director of anti-smoking body called Quit, said that the study was a further warning about the dangers of smoking.
She said that the findings debunk the age-old myth prevalent among smokers that fagging helps burn fat and stay thinner.
"If you lose muscle it looks like you are losing more weight," theage.com.au quoted Sharkie as saying.
"It gives the appearance you are looking skinnier, but you are still storing the fat, which is not obviously a good thing. We're debunking that myth as well with these findings," she added.
She also said that the fat might tend to gather around smokers' girth and torso, and further impact their health adversely. "That's around the liver, lungs, heart ... and the stomach as well," she said.