Quitting smoking unlikely to cause long-term weight gain, research says

January 27, 2014 by Simon Ancell, University of Otago
Quitting smoking unlikely to cause long-term weight gain: Otago research

(Medical Xpress)—Smokers wanting to kick the habit needn't be too worried about gaining a lot of weight after quitting, according to newly published University of Otago research.

The findings emerge from the world-renowned Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, which has closely followed the progress of around 1,000 people born in Dunedin in 1972-73. Smoking habits and were measured at regular intervals from 15 to 38 years old. About one third of the group were smokers at age 21, and by age 38 around 40% of these people had quit.

Over the 17-year follow up, the quitters' weight returned to the same level as people of similar who had never smoked in the first place. Furthermore, they gained only a relatively small amount of weight - around 5kg - compared to people who carried on . The findings were the same for both men and women.

Lindsay Robertson, who led the research, says some earlier research had suggested that people might gain large amounts of weight after quitting, but many of these studies were not very reliable.

"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 benefits of quitting," says Miss Robertson.

The researchers also found that being a smoker did not prevent long-term . All groups in the Dunedin Study tended to put on weight over time, regardless of their smoking status, she says.

Explore further: Weight gain after quitting smoking higher than previously thought

More information: Lindsay Robertson, Rob McGee, and Robert J. Hancox. "Smoking Cessation and Subsequent Weight Change." Nicotine Tob Res. First published online January 24, 2014 DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntt284

Related Stories

Weight gain after quitting smoking higher than previously thought

July 10, 2012
Giving up smoking is associated with an average weight gain of 4-5 kg after 12 months, most of which occurs within the first three months of quitting, finds a study published in the British Medical Journal today.

Stronger nicotine dependence correlates with higher post-smoking weight gain

August 21, 2013
Smokers with more severe nicotine dependence are more likely to gain weight when they try to quit, according to research published August 21 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Koji Hasegawa and colleagues from Kyoto Medical ...

Drug helps women who stop smoking keep weight off

December 10, 2012
A medication being tested to help smokers kick the habit also may help avoid the weight gain that is common after quitting but only in women, according to a study published in the December issue of Biological Psychiatry. ...

Quitting smoking results in minimal weight gain

February 17, 2012
The declining rate of smoking is unlikely to be a major contributor to the recent increases in the incidence of obesity. While quitting smoking might cause some people to gain weight, the amount gained will probably be small, ...

Weight gain after quitting smoking does not negate health benefits

March 12, 2013
An analysis of data from the Framingham Offspring Study – a long-term study that follows children of participants in the original Framingham Heart Study – may have answered a question that has troubled individuals considering ...

Why smokers gain weight when they quit smoking

August 29, 2013
Most smokers put on a couple of kilos when they quit smoking. This is not due to an increased calorie intake, but to a change in the composition of the intestinal flora after quitting smoking, as a study supported by the ...

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.