Quit smoking now: the health gain outweighs the weight gain

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Thinking about quitting smoking? You can t use I might gain weight as an excuse, according to a new study.

Recent quitters do tend to gain weight, but even if they put on a few extra pounds, they still have a lower chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke than they would have if they continued to smoke.

Dr. Carole Clair of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston analyzed data from a long-term study of 3,251 people from 1984 to 2011.

Quitters gained an average of six to eight pounds, but there was no noticeable effect on cardiovascular health, according to the study, published in JAMA. The study also helps answer the question of whether clinicians should encourage smoking cessation for all their patients.

But ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross notes that most cessation products are just not that effective. When touting the FDA-approved quitting aids, they hide behind the relative benefit, and ignore the absolute benefit, which is tiny. Really, three-fold improvement still amounts to about 18% success, he says. There are a bunch of smoking-related articles and perspectives in the current JAMA, and not one of them so much as hints at the existence of reduced-risk nicotine delivery products tobacco and non-tobacco which have been shown to be, or one can conclude are, much more likely to help smokers quit than the ineffective remedies clung to by our government agencies and the big nonprofits. It amounts to a conspiracy of silence when will it end?