Quitting Smoking Improves Your Health

People who quit smoking and gained weight had lower risk of death than current smokers who did not gain weight

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Some smokers worry about gaining weight after they quit. But new research found that the potential weight gain was well worth the long-term health benefits of quitting.

This new research showed that, even if former smokers gained weight, they still had a much lower risk of dying than people who still smoked and hadn't put on weight.

"Quitters had a significantly lower risk of death compared to smokers regardless of their weight change," said lead study author Hisako Tsuji, MD, of the Health Examination Center in Osaka, Japan, in a press release.

The researchers identified 5,204 smokers at annual health checkups. They collected data from three consecutive checkups the patients attended from 1997 to 2013.

Of the patients, 1,305 quit smoking during the study period. Most of the quitters gained weight after quitting — although 362 did not. About 450 quitters gained less than 4.4 pounds, and 485 gained more.

During the study period, 449 patients died.

Compared to the people who continued smoking, the patients who quit and did not gain any weight had a 34 percent lower risk of death. Those who quit and gained less than 4.4 pounds had a 49 percent lower risk of dying than the patients who continued smoking. Those who gained more than 4.4 pounds had a 26 percent lower death risk.

The authors suggested that quitting smoking significantly lowered the risk of death — regardless of potential weight gain after quitting.

This research was presented Nov. 18 at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago. Research presented at conferences may not have been peer-reviewed.

The authors did not disclose any funding sources or conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
November 17, 2014
Last Updated:
November 19, 2014