Predictors of weight change in sedentary smokers receiving a standard smoking cessation intervention

Nicotine Tob Res. 2013 May;15(5):910-6. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nts217. Epub 2012 Oct 9.


Introduction: Quitting smoking is associated with weight gain, which may threaten motivation to engage or sustain a quit attempt. The pattern of weight gained by smokers treated according to smoking cessation guidelines has been poorly described. We aimed to determine the weight gained after smoking cessation and its predictors, by smokers receiving individual counseling and nicotine replacement therapies for smoking cessation.

Methods: We performed an ancillary analysis of a randomized controlled trial assessing moderate physical activity as an aid for smoking cessation in addition to standard treatment in sedentary adult smokers. We used mixed longitudinal models to describe the evolution of weight over time, thus allowing us to take every participant into account. We also fitted a model to assess the effect of smoking status and reported use of nicotine replacement therapy at each time point. We adjusted for intervention group, sex, age, nicotine dependence, and education.

Results: In the whole cohort, weight increased in the first 3 months, and stabilized afterwards. Mean 1-year weight gain was 3.3kg for women and 3.9kg for men (p = .002). Higher nicotine dependence and male sex were associated with more weight gained during abstinence. Age over median was associated with continuing weight gain during relapse. There was a nonsignificant trend toward slower weight gain with use of nicotine replacement therapies.

Conclusion: Sedentary smokers receiving a standard smoking cessation intervention experience a moderate weight gain, limited to the first 3 months. Older age, male sex, and higher nicotine dependence are predictors of weight gain.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Counseling
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Recurrence
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices
  • Tobacco Use Disorder
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Gain*