How much weight gain occurs following smoking cessation? A comparison of weight gain using both continuous and point prevalence abstinence

J Consult Clin Psychol. 1997 Apr;65(2):286-91. doi: 10.1037//0022-006x.65.2.286.


Estimates of postcessation weight gain vary widely. This study determined the magnitude of weight gain in a cohort using both point prevalence and continuous abstinence criteria for cessation. Participants were 196 volunteers who participated in a smoking cessation program and who either continuously smoked (n = 118), were continuously abstinent (n = 51), or who were point prevalent abstinent (n = 27) (i.e., quit at the 1-year follow-up visit but not at others). Continuously abstinent participants gained over 13 lbs. (5.90 kg) at 1 year, significantly more than continuously smoking (M = 2.4 lb.) and point prevalent abstinent participants (M = 6.7 lbs., or 3.04 kg). Individual growth curve analysis confirmed that weight gain and the rate of weight gain (pounds per month) were greater among continuously smoking participants and that these effects were independent of gender, baseline weight, smoking and dieting history, age, and education. Results suggest that studies using point prevalence abstinence to estimate postcessation weight gain may be underestimating postcessation weight gain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Smoking Cessation*
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Gain*