Smoking and Weight Gain

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Story Updated: Aug 23, 2013

For smokers, the idea of quitting is often associated with worries about weight gain. In fact, 80% of people who give up cigarettes see the results on the scale. Now, a new study shows certain smokers may be at greater risk of putting on problem pounds.

Researchers evaluated 186 patients who visited a clinic for smoking cessation. They tested them for nicotine addiction and then tracked their body mass index for three months from the start of treatment.

The results? Nicotine dependence was strongly associated with weight gain. In other words, the more hooked a smoker was, the more likely he was to experience a significant increase in BMI.

Use of a nicotine patch or other replacement therapy did not make a difference.

While the health benefits of giving up cigarettes far outweigh the risks of weight gain, the researchers suggest quitters who are highly addicted may benefit from special interventions to prevent them from becoming overweight or obese.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with health information for healthier living.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com