Heavy smokers and smokers who are obese gain more weight after quitting, revealed a new study.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from 12,204 participants. They looked at the number of cigarettes smoked per day and body mass index (BMI) before quitting, to see how these factors might have affected weight change over 10 years. Susan Veldheer of the Penn State College of Medicine said, "People tend to put on some weight over time and everyone in the study gained weight. The non-smokers gained about a pound a year for 10 years."
The research team also compared the weight gain in smokers who quit and smokers who continued smoking, and found that for smokers of fewer than 15 cigarettes per day, there was no significant difference in the 10-year weight gain between those who quit smoking and those who did not quit. Veldheer said, "This was good news for light to moderate smokers who were concerned about weight gain. In the long term, quitting smoking will not make that big of an impact on their weight."
The scientists observed that smokers of 25 or more cigarettes per day reported 23 pounds of smoking cessation-attributable weight gain and obese smokers reported 16 pounds of weight gain that could be directly attributed to quitting. Veldheer further said, "For heavy smokers and obese smokers, this may be a good idea to work on quitting smoking while also making other healthy lifestyle changes to control their weight."
The study appeared in the International Journal of Obesity.