Weight gain after quitting smoking does not increase heart risk
People who quit smoking usually gain weight, making them question whether the unwanted pounds might negate the benefits of quitting. A study conducted at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital may help settle this issue. The researchers used data from the long-term Framingham Offspring Study, whose participants receive medical examinations every four to six years. They found that recent quitters gained an average of 5 to 10 pounds since their last visit, and those who had quit long ago gained an average of 1 to 2 pounds between visits. Compared with participants who continued to smoke, those who had stopped smoking experienced a 50% drop in their risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart-related causes in six years after quitting, regardless of how many pounds they gained (Journal of the American Medical Association, March 13, 2013).