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Study: Quitting Smoking Could Increase Weight

Update Date: Jul 11, 2012 09:16 AM EDT

Here is something that smokers planning to kick the butt might want to be prepared for. According to a latest European study, people who quit smoking could gain weight, an average of about 8 to 11 pounds the first year.

Researchers say, most of the weight gain takes place in the first three months itself.  However, that should not discourage smokers from quitting the habit, since the benefits of quitting, still are much more than a weight gain.

For the study, researchers from France and the United Kingdom examined 62 previous studies to evaluate weight fluctuations among smokers who quit successfully. The people, who quit, could have done so with or without the assistance of nicotine replacement therapy.

The fluctuation of weight of those who quit smoking was tracked 12 months after they stopped smoking.

The results revealed that those who quit without the help of nicotine replacement therapy out on 2.5 pounds a month on an average post quitting. The progressive weight gain of those who quit was found to be as follows:

Two months: 5 pounds

Three months: 6.5 pounds

Six months: 9 pounds

Twelve months: 10.5 pounds

The weight gain is also similar to those who quit with the help of nicotine replacement therapy, says Henri-Jean Aubin, a professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine at Paul Brousse Hospital in Villejuif, France, and colleagues, reports Health Day.

The study results reveal that the actual weight gain in those who quit is much more than the commonly believed 6.5 pounds weight-gain post quitting. Also, it is double the figure of what women usually say they will tolerate in order to quit.

Although the study defines the average weight-gain in former smokers, the fluctuation in weight varied widely. It was found that 16 percent of those who quit smoking lost weight, while 13 percent gained more than 22 pounds in the following year.

"These data suggest that doctors might usefully give patients a range of expected weight gain," the study authors said in a news release while concluding that that previous research underestimated the amount of weight people will gain in the following year after they kick the butt.

The study was published in the July 10 online edition of the BMJ,

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