Nearly 40 percent of female German smokers refuse to quit smoking for fear of gaining weight, a representative study by the Instituts Gewis for the Hamburg-based magazine Petra showed.
Asked why they smoked, 39 percent of those between ages 25 and 39 replied, "If I quit, I'll gain weight."
Experts disagree. Most smokers do gain a little weight when the stop, according to the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg.
However, they only gain about three kilograms on average, a far less damaging risk compared to health problems arising from continued smoking. People should switch to a light diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables a few weeks before they stop smoking.
According to the survey, 41 percent of women said they were addicted to cigarettes. Every second respondent or 52 percent said smoking was an indulgence they were not ready to give up and 44 percent said that smoking was social.
Almost every former and non-smoker polled or 92 percent said they did not want to poison their body while 82 percent said the smell of smoke upset them.
Only about one-third stayed off cigarettes because of the high costs and 27 percent said they did not smoke because it disturbed their partner.
The survey included 1,019 women.