Study gives no weight to smokers’ excuses 170



View Profile

It’s the oldest excuse in the book for those who just don’t want to give up the ciggies. And new research has now revealed that the fears of die-hard smokers are justified, but only to an extent.

A study by the Menzies Institute for Medical Research found those who quit smoking indeed gained weight, which is a common reason people avoid quitting, putting on twice as much over a five year period as those who continued to smoke.

Researchers collected data from 65,000 smokers who quit the habit and 390,000 continuing smokers, and discovered that quitters gained around four kilograms over five years while continuing smokers only put on 1.5 kilograms.

However, the study’s author Seana Gall was quick to point out that over a five-year period the weight-gain was minimal and that the health benefits of quitting still significantly outweighed the dangers of putting on a few pounds.

“What we know from studies in other places is that this amount of weight gain does not offset the many health benefits of quitting smoking,” said Dr Gall.

“It is a little bit paradoxical that people would be worried about a small amount of weight gain when you’re looking at the very terrible outcomes of smoking itself,” she said.

While it’s long been suspected, this is the first Australian study to connect quitting smoking with weight gain and the finding  –  that the gain is minimal – is considered a win.

Dr Gall explains that nicotine affects the brain, suppressing the appetite and increasing metabolism. When someone quits, their metabolism appears to slow down somewhat, while the appetite returns to normal.

And as anyone who’s made the brave move to quit the smoke knows, the absence of cigarettes means you often reach for a bit of comfort food, especially in the first weeks and months.

To anyone who thinks smoking is a good way to keep their weight in check Dr Gall reminds us, “Recent studies from Australia have shown that two thirds of smokers will actually die due to their smoking.”

Are you a smoker? Does the fear of weight gain stop you from quitting? And for those who’ve been there, done that, did you put on a few kilos when you quit? 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. You do gain weight it is true, you do get very angry, you get hungrier, it is extremely hard to give up smoking and anyone that has never smoked can not have an opinion as they do not know. Smokes are just as bad as any drug you can take, people fall over themselves to help them but no-one wants to help a smoker get clean. It takes many goes to do it believe me know as I have done It. I finally made the decision to do it and I did, extremely hard but almost 4 years.

    12 REPLY
    • As for being a non-smoker not being able to have an opinion about it, WE are the ones who watch our relatives slowly kill themselves, have to deal with the stench and mess they create. So I disagree we DESERVE to have an opinion as the air is for everyone, not just smokers. Filthy dirty habit. You take it up you know the risks, so PLEASE don’t winge that it is soooo hard to give up.
      Which is why I just do NOT understand why anyone would willingly take up the filthy things in the first place knowing how hard it is to stop. Sorry do not have any sympathy for the struggles to give up smoking.
      MOST smokers do not think about their families or anyone else around them and the damage they do to others much less than themselves. Also the damned cigarette butts flicked away everywhere and end up in our drains or washed out to see as the filter does not break down.

    • It is easier these days to give up than yesterday . The nicotine patches are one good way. My husband used them, didn’t even finish off the whole packet. Hasn’t smoked now for years. So this is one good way to those who genuinely want to give them up. Well done to you too Judith.

    • Kay Eller, so nice to be perfect and not have any bad habits….back when I started smoking no-one said the damage it causes. There are plenty of things that other people do that annoy me too but I do not preach to them, I am not perfect….we were talking about how hard and what happened to people that try to give them up and that is what I said you have no opinion on as you do not know….no drug attic, alcoholic, or gambler thinks about their families either, they don’t think about the future or anything either. I did not ask for your sympathy anyway….some people get addicted to food too knowing the dangers too…..anything addictive is wrong for us and extremely hard to give up but we like them or need them at the time.

    • With any addiction it’s hard if u don’t want to really do it I have a brother in low that he whose a chain smoker whose diagnose with cancer the next day gave it up addiction is hard regardless which one is it but there’s so much help in our days

    • There are in fact various programs in place to help smokers give the habit up. If that desire is genuine of course.

    • Kay Eller
      I often say to people “if you want to give up smoking go and visit my father”
      He has been on an Oxygen machine for 4 years.
      He cannot talk more than 20 seconds due to being out of breath.
      He cannot walk more than 10 meters as he is out of breath
      Every birthday and Christmas we think will be his last.
      He needs a full time carer which was my Mother until she got Cancer and was too sick to care for him.
      Not to mention my constant cough and lung problems from his passive smoke
      The stench , the money the health
      I know when he started smoking it was not known the Smoking Kills
      But today we all know the consequences

    • Very true Judith. Certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Good on you, stay strong. The longer you are away from cigarettes, the easier it is to stay away.

    • Concrete evidence. Almost overnight in the mid to late 60’s the medical wards were overwhelmed with men all with the same diagnosis Lung Cancer! It was something to behold. Most of them had taken up smoking at around nine years of age! And most were in their sixties, the horror and the suffering was dreadful to witness. So we have known for sure for the last 50 yrs, of course there are now 15 separate cancers directly caused by cigarettes. Women now feature very much in the statistic catch up which was sadly predicted as more and more females take up the habit. Nicotine is way more addictive than Heroin, hence the failure rate of those trying to give up. We need to be very sad that modern people in full knowledge are actually taking in a carcinogenic and are happy to do so.

  2. It was so Lovely To Return To
    Australia from Europe where smokers are Everywhere Smelling up the atmoSphere.

    4 REPLY
  3. Give up and don’t replace it with eating! Duh!

    4 REPLY
    • Have you ever smoked and tried????you have to replace it with something and as smoking is a comfort thing and so is eating, then you replace one for the other it is a fact…..if you persevere with the patches like I did for 3 months you will not use food as much.

    • Bully 4u Judith & plsd it worked 4u. Don’t put down the ‘tryers’. Most smokers want the same result – quit that is. U may or may not know, some have a chromasone that (from an expert) tmakes it tougher to quit & indeed may never happen!!

  4. Trouble is they got so many of our generation hooked, it was trendy thing to smoke when we were young and I am told it is very difficult to give it up

  5. I gave up many, many years ago. Am glad I did as I’d rather be a little cuddly than rotting on the inside.

  6. slow suicide…smokers have all sorts of excuses, but seriously they just want attention, its a sympton of a nevous disorder……if they are not prepared to question deeply why they cant give up, then put in to action their own steps to stop this extremely bad habit, then, just let them commit suicide. Unfortunatley others suffer as they what their health slowly go down hill, and the public purse has to pay for their health needs along their commited journey. Stop making cigarettes, simple.

    3 REPLY
    • not so simple as you would think – obviously you have never been addicted to nicotine. Wanting attention?? You’ve got to be kidding! I have been a non smoker for 8 1/2 years and now hate the smell, but can sympathise with people trying to quit

    • Sorry Phyllis it is a drug. DO SOMETHING about it and don’t make excuses, It is not like there isn’t enough information about why you should NOT smoke and the dangers, but if you take it up then you take the responsibility to stop. Stop making excuses to yourself and JUST DO IT.
      Isn;t it time smokers start thinking of their family and not themselves and THEIR addiction?. Your kids may start as you are sending mixed messages. There are ENOUGH ways to stop THEY just have to make the effort, work through the withdrawal symptoms and get off those filthy cigarettes. Sorry have absolutely NO sympathy for smokers and their addiction. Same as I have no time for drug addiction either, same thing really just a different method of killing yourself.
      Can see you have stopped well very good.

    • as the saying goes ‘God helps those who help themselves’, only the addicted can say ‘I want to quit’ no-one can do that for them.

  7. I gave up smoking a few years ago and from the start resolved not to go for the chocolate bars, etc. one might gain a few kilos, but think of all the wrinkles you are saving yourself from let alone the benefits to your health

  8. Yep. It is no one else’s business

    2 REPLY
    • actually it IS. If you have a family it is definitely THEIR business as you affect them and their future as at some point they will be looking after you and the damage you do to yourself. Also all the cost to society for cancer etc that can be avoided by not smoking

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *