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Int J Epidemiol. 1996 Dec;25(6):1208-12.

The relationship between body weight and patterns of smoking in women and men.

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Institute of Social Medicine, Karl Franzens Universität, Graz, Austria.



In the scientific literature, studies of the relationship between cigarette smoking and body weight yield conflicting results. Weight-lowering effects in women and men have been associated with smoking, however, no effects on weight have been proven. The purpose of this study was to examine the gender-related association between cigarette smoking and relative weight in a rural population in Styria, Austria.


A database from a health survey conducted between 1989 and 1993 in 79 selected rural communities of Styria was used for these analyses. The sample consisted of 27,344 participants, 16,185 women and 11,159 men, aged > or = 15 years. We controlled for possible confounding factors such as age, years of education, alcohol consumption, regular physical activity, and chronic diseases.


For women and men, in comparison to non- and ex-smokers, smoking is significantly correlated with lower body mass index (BMI). In contrast, heavy smoking and smoking cessation are significantly associated with higher relative weight.


We found significant results confirming an association between cigarette smoking and lower BMI in women and men, whereas heavy smoking as well as smoking cessation were significantly correlated with higher relative weight. Health intervention programmes to quit smoking should take into account the underlying perceived benefits of smoking with regard to weight, especially its gender specificity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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