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Giving up smoking can mean weight gain for many

12th July 2012

People who give up smoking gain on average 8-11 pounds in the first year after kicking the habit, according to a new study.

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Researchers from the United Kingdom and France found that most of the excess weight goes on in the first three months, though they stress that the benefits of stopping smoking are still better than any weight rise.

The research team looked at 62 studies examining weight changes in reformed smokers who stopped without the use of nicotine replacement therapy, which were assessed a year after they quit.

Within a month, they gained on average 2.5 pounds and put on five pounds at two months and 6.5 pounds after three months. That had risen to nine pounds after six months and 10.5 pounds after a year.

Those who stopped smoking by using nicotine replacement therapy gained weight at a similar rate.

However, the research team – which published its results in BMJ online - also found that the weight gained was more than the 6.5 pounds suggested in smoking cessation literature.

Within the findings there were fluctuations and 16% of those studied lost weight while 13% put on more than 22 pounds.

The study, led by Henri-Jean Aubin, a professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine at Paul Brousse Hospital in Villejuif, France, and colleagues, concluded that previous research underestimated the amount of weight people will gain a year after stopping smoking.

The authors said: “These data suggest that doctors might usefully give patients a range of expected weight gain.”

 

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