Author Insights: Excessive Weight Gain May Reduce the Benefits of Smoking Cessation for Heart Disease Risk

In conclusion, whatever you do death is certain. Quite a revelation


Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease and quitting the habit reduces that risk. But smoking cessation is associated with gaining weight (on average from 6-13 pounds within 6 months after quitting), and weight gain is sometimes associated with increased risk for heart disease. Does that mean quitters might be substituting one heart disease risk factor for another? The authors of a research letter appearing today in JAMA, focusing on postmenopausal women with and without diabetes, say “no” in general, but perhaps “yes” if the weight gain is substantial.

The researchers, using data for 104391 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative, found that among women without diabetes, those who recently quit (smoking at the start of the study and not smoking at year 3) decreased their risk of having a heart disease event (heart attack, silent heart attack, or death due to heart disease)…

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