Researchers have found that smoking cessation increases levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein), a good type of cholesterol - despite the weight gain commonly associated with quitting.
Those who quit smoking had increases in HDL cholesterol of 2.4 mg/dl compared to no change in continuing smokers.
Researchers also found increases in total and large HDL particles in those who quit when compared to smokers.
The HDL responses to smoking cessation were not affected by baseline smoking intensity nor smoking cessation strategy, implying that even light smokers experience improvements in good cholesterol when they quit.
Smoking cessation did not affect low density lipoproteins (LDL), the bad cholesterol, or their size, researchers reported.
Increases in HDL may be responsible for part of the reduced cardiovascular disease risk observed after smoking cessation, the researchers said.