In order to expand upon research that shows smoking raises bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers good cholesterol (HDL), a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health recruited 1,500 smokers. The investigators report that among the 36 percent of the smokers who had successfully quit a year later, an average increase of about 5 percent in HDL cholesterol was noted, even though the group that quit smoking gained an average of approximately 10 pounds. This led the researchers to believe that the additional weight gain might actually be masking even greater benefits in HDL-cholesterol levels.
“This is further confirmation that smoking cigarettes worsens your lipid profile, and by quitting, you can gain some increase in good HDL cholesterol despite weight gain,” adds ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. “Yet one more reason to quit smoking, as if more were needed.”