Study: Weight gain after quitting smoking poses little health threat

I gained 15 pounds within six months of quitting smoking.  Concerned that the weight gain would put me at greater risk for diabetes and heart, I spoke to my doctor, who told me that smoking is probably the single worst thing a person can do for their health, and the incidental increase in weight would not come close to the health risks associated with smoking.


Apparently my doctor was prescient, as a recent long-term study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has affirmed his opinion, stating that those who quit smoking were about half as likely to experience a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiac problems, as those who continued to smoke.

The benefits were profound even when scientists adjusted the data to account for the weight gain that accompanies smoking cessation.  Unfortunately, the data were inconclusive as to whether people with diabetes accrued the same benefits from quitting as did people without the condition.

The study group included current smokers, those who quit within the last four years, people who had quit long ago and people who had never smoked. Between-visit weight gain was highest, averaging six pounds, in the more-recent quitters. But the researchers conclude that quitting smoking still yields “a net cardiovascular benefit” on average, no matter the weight gain.

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Posted by on March 15, 2013. Filed under SCI/TECH/HOME/TRAVEL. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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2 Responses to Study: Weight gain after quitting smoking poses little health threat

  1. James Smith

    March 15, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I don’t know how you did, but I also gained a few pounds after quitting. But they didn’t last. I year later, I was back at my original weight.

    Today, I am at the same weight I was when I was teaching 11 or 12 martial arts classes a week and doing 3 or 4 Nautilus workouts a week. I have had to cut back on how much I eat. It must be true that your metabolism slows down somewhere between 40 and 70. 🙂

    • Michael John Scott

      March 17, 2013 at 7:40 am

      As I mentioned in the article, I gained an almost immediate 15 pounds James, and it was tough taking it off. I hadn’t heard that your metabolism starts to slow down, but I believe it.