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Smokers put on more weight: Study

health-and-fitness Updated: Apr 23, 2010 17:06 IST

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In one more reason why you should keep away from cigarette, scientists have claimed that not only active smokers, but even those who stop, put on more

weight than non-smokers.

A four-year long study by researchers at the University of Navarra (UNAV) in Spain found a strong link between nicotine consumption and weight gain.

"The myth that smoking makes you slimmer is not true and thus nicotine addiction is not an effective way of preventing obesity," lead author Francisco Javier Basterra-Gortari said.

"In fact the increase is demonstrated, especially in ex-smokers and in smokers who continue," he said.

The research focused on link between the two cardiovascular risk factors: the 'nicotine habit' and the increase in weight when smokers stop the habit and when they continue smoking.

The results, published in journal 'Revista Espanola de Cardiologia', are crucial for considering prevention programmes," Basterra-Gortari said.

The data, resulting from an analysis of 7,565 people, is based on age, sex, initial body mass index and lifestyles like changes in physical activity, energy/fibre intake, consumption of fizzy drinks, fast food and alcohol.

"Weight gain in people who stopped smoking during the study was higher the more cigarettes they smoked a day when the investigation began. Those who continued smoking also gained more weight during this period than the non-smokers," they said.

The association between being overweight and nicotine addiction is especially harmful for cardiovascular health. Therefore, abandoning the nicotine habit has been linked to a decrease in the risk of cardiovascular illnesses and cancer.

However, experts argue that weight gain after stopping smoking is, often, a reason for not quitting the nicotine addiction, especially among women, Science Blog reported.

Most of the investigations that have studied this link have observed that, although there is an increase in weight after stopping smoking, there are notable variations in weight gain.