Quit Smoking, Gain Weight, Don't Worry

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The health benefits of quitting smoking outweigh the adverse effects of putting on weight as a result of quitting, says the American Heart Association (AHA). At an AHA scientific session in in Houston, researchers reported the results of two long-term studies on smoking cessation, changes in weight, and cardiovascular disease risk in people with type 2 diabetes. The studies involved more than 10,000 men and women.

In people with diabetes who stopped smoking and gained weight, cardiovascular risks were lower than if they’d continued smoking, even in former smokers who gained more than 11 pounds. Overall, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke risk in adults with diabetes who never smoked is about 41 percent lower than in smokers with diabetes. People with diabetes who quit smoking have a 25 to 34 percent lower heart disease risk than smokers with diabetes, according to the AHA researchers.

Overweight and obesity are risk factors for type 2 diabetes, and both diabetes and smoking are risk factors for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Weight gain is a common challenge for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit; if you need help, check out the resources at smokefree.gov.