Post-smoking weight gain healthier than cigarettes: study

LOS ANGELES

"Among people who stop smoking, we weren't really sure if that weight gain was harmful or not," said Dr. James Meigs.

And researchers wanted to know if this weight gain does more harm than good to smokers with diabetes?

Using data from the ongoing Framingham Heart Study project, they measured weight and heart health among those who never smoked, those who quit smoking within the last four years, and people who quit more than four years ago. And then researchers compared them to people who continued to smoke.

"Among people who quit smoking, regardless of the weight gain, they were about half as likely to have a heart attack or a stroke or die from a heart attack over six years of observation," said Meigs.

In this report, provided by the Journal of the American Medical Association, participants who quit smoking on average gained about 6 to 10 pounds.

"They will benefit by quitting smoking even if they're overweight, even if they have diabetes, even if they gain some weight," said Dr. Nancy Rigotti.

Researchers also say people who never smoked had about a 70-percent reduction in the risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to people who kept smoking.

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