But Doc, I’ll just gain weight if I quit smoking

I saw this in the British Medical Journal.  My patients know they shouldn’t smoke, but fear of weight gain holds many back.  These are some useful statistics to share with them.

The meta analysis by Aubin et al ( http://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e4439 ) showed:

•    Average weight gain was 8-11 pounds 1 year after quitting
•    13% of people gained more than 22 pounds  
•    16% lost some weight
•    Method of quitting didn’t affect weight.

Commentators noted 

  • Study participants may have enrolled because they have less willpower than average; so people who can quit smoking on their own may be less likely to overeat and gain weight.
  • Cohort studies have shown short-term weight gain among quitters but long-term trends similar to those of non-smokers
  • Being a bit overweight doesn’t kill you, but smoking may.

An accompanying editorial can be found here: Quitting smoking and gaining weight: the odd couple | BMJ.

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