Even with Weight Gain, Quitting Smoking Still Better for Your Health
Posted Apr 15 2013 9:00am
Among adults without diabetes, quitting smoking, compared with
continuing smoking, was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular
disease despite subsequent weight gain, according to a study appearing
in the March 13 issue of JAMA.
“Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable mortality in
the United States and a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease
(CVD). Smoking cessation substantially reduces the risks of CVD;
however, quitting smoking is associated with a small number of adverse
health consequences, weight gain being one of smokers’ major concerns,”
according to background information in the article.
weight gain varies between 6.6 lbs. and 13.2 lbs. in North
America and happens within 6 months after smoking cessation. Obesity is also a risk factor for CVD. One would think then that weight gain following
smoking cessation might lessen the benefits of quitting
Carole Clair, M.D., M.Sc., of the University of Lausanne,
Switzerland, and colleagues conducted a study to assess the association
between 4-year weight gain following smoking cessation and CVD event
rate among adults with and without diabetes. The study included data
from the Framingham Offspring Study collected from 1984 through 2011. At
each 4-year examination, self-reported smoking status was assessed and
categorized as smoker, recent quitter (≤ 4 years), long-term quitter
(>4 years), and nonsmoker. The primary
outcome measure was the incidence over 6 years of total CVD events,
comprising coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular events, peripheral
artery disease, and congestive heart failure.
Weight gain occurred over 4 years in participants without and with
diabetes. Among participants without diabetes, recent quitters gained
significantly more weight (median [midpoint], 5.9 lbs.) than long-term
quitters (1.9 lbs.), smokers (1.9 lbs.), and nonsmokers (3 lbs.). Among
patients with diabetes, recent quitters also gained significantly more
weight (7.9 lbs.) than smokers (1.9 lbs.), long-term quitters (0.0 lbs.,
and nonsmokers (1.1 lbs.).
Compared with smokers, recent
quitters had a 53 percent lower risk for CVD and long-term quitters had a
54 percent lower risk for CVD.
“In conclusion, among adults without diabetes, quitting smoking was
associated with a lower risk of CVD compared with continuing smoking. This
supports a net cardiovascular benefit of smoking cessation, despite
subsequent weight gain,” the authors write.