Smokers with more severe nicotine dependence are more likely to gain weight when they try to quit.
This is according to research published August 21 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Koji Hasegawa and colleagues from Kyoto Medical Center, Japan.
Even with nicotine replacement therapy, individuals can gain substantial amounts of weight when they quit smoking. Here, researchers studied weight gain patterns in individuals who successfully abstained from smoking after nicotine replacement therapy at a clinic.
They found that higher scores on the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND), implying more severe dependence, correlated strongly with the amount of weight participants gained when they quit. Other factors that were significantly associated with post-smoking weight gain were higher serum triglycerides and lower HDL-cholesterol levels at the start of therapy and the number of cigarettes participants reported smoking each day.
There was no significant difference in weight gain between patients who used nicotine patches and those that used the oral pill varenicline. Based on their results, the authors suggest that smokers with higher nicotine dependency may require interventions against weight gain in the cessation clinic.