The number of young women who smoke remains shockingly high, despite educational campaigns and widespread public knowledge about the health hazards of smoking.
Many educators suspect that young women are especially vulnerable to smoking campaigns because advertisers have connected smoking with thinness, because young women often smoke as a means of maintaining their weight, and because they fear that they will gain weight if they quit smoking.
Now, a Japanese study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology indicates that, at least among men, the weight gain that occurs after an individual quits smoking is temporary in nature. The study of 7,324 male civil service workers found that, although the workers did gain weight after they quit smoking, their weight stabilized and was comparable to that of non-smokers only a few years after they kicked the nicotine habit. This was true for both heavy and light smokers.
Researchers also found that ex-smokers may be able to reduce weight gain by limiting their alcohol intake, which was associated with increased weight gain.