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How Much Weight Do Ex-Smokers Put On After Quitting?

Wayne Wilson, Getty Images

Since nicotine is an appetite suppressant and a stimulant, a fear of weight gain is one reason many smokers cite for refusing to quit.

And a new report stating ex-smokers pack on more pounds than previously thought probably won’t help matters any — but all may not be as it seems.

French and British researchers say people gain about 10 pounds after kicking the habit — more than the roughly six pounds often quoted in smoking cessation literature, and double the five pounds many female smokers say they’re willing to tolerate.

That said, some people in the study actually lost weight. Study author Henri-Jean Aubin, professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine at France’s Hôpital Paul Brousse, said, “The good news is that after the first [three months], weight gain decelerates substantially. Nearly 20 percent of smokers actually lose weight after one year of continuous abstinence.”

Aubin says doctors should stress not just the long-term benefits of quitting to their patients, but also the virtues of exercise, adding, “Quitting smoking at age 40 increases life expectancy by nine years, even taking into account the possible post-cessation weight gain.


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