Heavy smokers are likely to gain more weight after quitting than light to moderate smokers, says a new study.
“”This is good news for light to moderate smokers who are concerned about weight gain. It means that in the long term, quitting smoking will not make that big of an impact on their weight,” said one of the researchers Susan Veldheer from Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Centre in Pennsylvania, US.
Quitting smoking may lead to some weight gain but how much weight gain depends on the individual.
To better understand personal factors that may contribute to weight gain, the researchers analysed data from 12,204 participants.
They looked at the number of cigarettes smoked per day and body mass index before quitting, to see how these factors may have affected weight change over 10 years.
What they found is 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.
However, for smokers of 25 or more cigarettes per day and those who were obese prior to quitting — body mass index of 30 or more — the amount of weight gain attributable to quitting was substantial.
Smokers of 25 or more cigarettes per day reported 23 pounds of weight gain that could be attributed to quitting cigarettes and obese smokers reported 16 pounds of weight gain that could be directly attributed to quitting.
“Being able to easily identify smokers who may gain more weight when they quit is important so that we can work with patients to tailor their treatment plan,” Veldheernoted.
The findings were reported in the International Journal of Obesity.