Weight gain after quitting smoking

Nicotine suppresses the appetite. Many people, especially women and teenage girls, have reported smoking in order to stay thin. In a study of women smokers, most said they would not quit if quitting meant they would gain more than 1 pound.

In a recently published study, data from the Framingham heart study participants revealed that although smokers who quit gained only a few pounds on average, any extra weight did not cause an increase in overall heart attacks or strokes. In fact, as long as the net weight gain was less than 10 pounds, former smokers were able to cut the risk of cardiovascular events by half.

Unfortunately, after four or more years of smoking cessation, about one out of six in this group had gained more than 11 pounds and had increased risk for heart disease. On an encouraging note, almost 40% actually lost weight from their pre-quit weight.

Both smoking and obesity are bad for health, but as long as the weight gain is not excessive, a few extra pounds is a small price to pay.