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Nicotine Tob Res. 2013 Jun;15(6):1136-40. doi: 10.1093/ntr/nts226. Epub 2012 Oct 24.

Smoking-related weight concerns and obesity: differences among normal weight, overweight, and obese smokers using a telephone tobacco quitline.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.



Substantial evidence suggests that concerns about postcessation weight gain interfere with cessation efforts. However, it is unclear to what extent weight pretreatment affects smoking-related weight concerns. Given that the prevalence of overweight and obesity among callers to tobacco quitlines mirrors that of the population at large, and that women and obese smokers may be more concerned about weight gain, we sought to compare weight gain concerns among normal weight, overweight, and obese callers to a quitline.


A sample of 34.6% (n = 206) normal weight, 30.6% (n = 182) overweight, and 34.8% (n = 207) obese quitline callers completed assessments of tobacco use history and smoking-specific weight concerns. Weight categories were compared and gender differences evaluated.


Obese smokers endorsed significantly more concerns about postcessation weight gain [F(2, 592) = 20.35, p < .0001], had less confidence in their ability to maintain their weight without smoking [F(2, 592) = 7.67, p = .0005], and were willing to tolerate less weight gain after quitting than normal weight or overweight smokers [F(2,574) = 30.59, p < .0001). There also were gender differences in weight concerns by weight status. Significantly more women callers were obese (38.2% vs. 28.4%, p = .011), and women consistently endorsed more concern about postcessation weight gain than did men [F(1,588) = 24.04, p < .0001).


Overweight and obese smokers, particularly women, express substantial concern about gaining weight after quitting. It is possible that smokers who begin quitline treatment with a BMI in the obese range may benefit from adjunctive interventions designed to address smoking-related weight concerns.

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