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One year after quitting smoking, people have gained an average of 10 lb, according to a meta-analysis in BMJ.
Researchers analyzed 62 randomized trials that measured weight gain following smoking cessation. Regardless of the cessation treatment used, all groups gained about 2 lb per month for the first 3 months. Then, weight gain slowed until 1 year, at which point people had gained an average of 9 to 11 lb. However, there was a large variation in weight change — about 16% of participants lost weight, while about 13% gained more than 22 lb.
Editorialists caution that the results may not be generalizable to all smokers because these participants volunteered for cessation clinics. They conclude: "Although obesity is positively associated with an increased risk of all cause mortality, cohort studies indicate that modest weight gain does not increase the risk of death; smoking does.