A new study conducted by researchers at University of Otago in New Zealand has found that the weight gain experienced by smokers who quit the habit is no greater than the weight gained by non smokers.
The researchers made use of data from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study which involved over 1,000 people born in Dunedin in 1972-73. The participants' smoking habits and weights had been measured by researchers between the ages of 15 to 38 with a third of the participants being smokers by the time they were 21 and 40 percent of whom had quit the habit by the age of 38.
The researchers found that the weight gain experienced by smokers who quit was no greater than those who never smoked and over a period of 17 years of the study, the weight of those who quit was at the same level as people of similar age who had never smoked in the first place. The study has been published in the online edition of Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
"We hope that our findings will encourage people who are thinking about quitting. They should not be put off by the fear of putting on large amounts of weight. It is important to be aware that a small weight gain is unlikely to offset the health benefits of quitting", lead researcher Lindsay Robertson said.