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Don’t Let Fear Of Weight Gain Stop You From Quitting Smoking

The benefits to quitting smoking far outweigh any potential weight gained in the process. Michael Omidi, MD examines the benefits of quitting smoking and how putting on a few extra pounds is worth it.

A common concern among smokers contemplating giving up the habit is the amount of weight that they may gain in the process. Weight gain is not just an aesthetic concern as researchers and individuals have examined whether the benefits of smoking cessation may be canceled out by those who are obese, overweight, or suffering from coronary heart disease. A recent study examined this argument and found that quitting smoking was worth the increase in weight. [1]

Nicotine increases heart rate, which may result in a slightly increased metabolism in smokers. When smokers quit their metabolism slows down, which can partially contribute to weight gain. Primarily, when smokers give up the habit they tend to compensate for the oral fixation and nicotine withdrawal through eating.

Over the course of 25 years, researchers studied 631 participants to judge the benefits of quitting smoking against any detraction from those benefits through weight gain. The study found that although quitters gained anywhere from 6 to 13 pounds over the course of the first six months, the weight gain did not affect patients from decreasing their chance of heart problems by 50%. Weight gain for long-term quitters was found to be an average of only 1 to 2 pounds.

For those that are still concerned about gaining weight during an attempt to quit smoking, nicotine cessation materials such as nicotine or gum or lozenges can help and making sure to incorporate exercise into your daily routine will also help.

Whether you decide to quit cold turkey or utilize smoking cessation tools you can quit and stay quit and reap the health benefits regardless of weight gain.

By Michael Omidi, MD



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