The relationship between smoking and body weight in a population of young military personnel

Health Psychol. 1998 Sep;17(5):454-8. doi: 10.1037//0278-6133.17.5.454.


Evidence indicates that middle-aged smokers weigh less than nonsmokers and that smoking cessation reliably produces weight gain, but recent studies have questioned the weight control "benefits" of smoking in younger populations (the time that people typically initiate smoking). The relationship between smoking and body weight was evaluated in all U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training recruits during a 1-year period (n = 32,144). Those who smoked prior to Basic Military Training (n = 10,440) were compared to never smokers or experimental smokers. Results indicated that regular-current smoking had no relationship to body weight in women (p > .05) and a very small effect in men (p < .05). Ethnicity, education, income, and duration and intensity of smoking did not affect the relationship between smoking and body weight. It was concluded that smoking has no effects on the body weights of young women and minimal effects in young men.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Weight*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel / psychology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires