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J Subst Abuse Treat. 2000 Jun;18(4):339-42.

Short-term weight gain in abstaining women smokers.

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  • 1Nicotine Research Laboratory, Behavioral Medicine Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Suite L, 475 Market Place, Ann Arbor, MI 48108, USA.


Although most studies of weight gain following smoking cessation assess long-term change, weight gain during the critical period immediately following cessation may be more salient to the smoker for whom fear of weight gain constitutes a serious barrier to cessation. The current study examined weight change in 20 highly dependent women smokers provided with monetary incentives to abstain for 1 week, along with concomitant changes in cotinine. Abstaining smokers (n = 7) gained 3.1 pounds, compared with 0.3 pounds in women who continued to smoke (n = 13). Across all subjects, change was significantly negatively correlated with final plasma cotinine concentration and marginally negatively correlated with percent cotinine reduction. Weight gain in women abstainers in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle exceeded that in women abstainers in the follicular phase; a significant interaction such that continuing smokers showed no phase-related differences in weight suggests that the effect was not an artifact of perimenstrual increases in eating or fluid retention. Although long-term weight gain has been shown to be positively associated with success in quitting, little is known about the effects of short-term weight gain. Since many weight-concerned individuals either do not attempt to quit or terminate their quit attempts very early, it may be that if weight gain can be postponed beyond the first few fragile days of cessation, women with strong weight concerns may actually be good candidates for success.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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