It's Worth Gaining Pounds to Quit Smoking

By Valerie Tejeda 03/13/13

Although weight gain after quitting increases risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, it's still much healthier in the long run, researchers confirm.

A few extra pounds are worth it. Photo via

It’s healthier to quit smoking and gain weight, than to not quit at all, new research confirms. Many people avoid giving up cigarettes due to the fear of putting on some extra pounds—American smokers typically gain around nine to 11 pounds with in the first year after quitting. While being overweight can lead to heart disease, especially for people with type 2 diabetes, a new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that giving up smoking will still improve your health long-term, even with the extra baggage. Researchers analyzed data from 3,251 participants in the Framingham Heart Study, a landmark cardiovascular study. The data goes as far back as 1971, and doctors checked in with the participants every four to six years. The percentage of people smoking dropped from 31% to 13% from 1984-2011, when there were approximately 11,148 examinations performed. The researchers found that those who quit smoking reduced their risk of developing serious heart problems by an impressive 54%. This offsets the risks associated with weight gain among quitters. “Cigarette smoking has short and long-term cardiovascular effects that are reversible shortly after cessation,” the study authors write. “Weight gain that occurred following smoking cessation was not associated with a reduction in the benefits of quitting smoking.”

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix,, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.