PURPOSE: It is believed that smokers, particularly women, are reluctant to quit smoking due to the fear of post-cessation weight gain. We examined the concerns of smokers to determine the impact of weight gain on quit attempts.
METHODS: Participants (n=1931) completed questionnaires to collect information on: medical history, obstacles to quitting, tobacco-related habits, past quit attempts and weight gain. Behavior modification incorporating weight management strategies (with provision of free pedometers) and pharmacotherapy (Bupropion and/or nicotine replacement therapy) were utilized. On day-30, quit status was validated using a (Bedfont® hand-held) carbon monoxide monitor. 1-year f/u was done. Institutional Review Board approval was obtained. Data analyzed by SAS®.
RESULTS: 41% women vs. 13% men (p<0.0001) cited ‘fear of weight gain’ as an obstacle for this quit attempt. 60% of those who cited weight gain as an obstacle (vs. 56% all other smokers) were quit at 30-days (p=n.s.); and 36% [both groups] remained smoke-free at 1-year. Many smokers [52% of women vs. 37% of men] (p<0.0001) reported large weight gain (mean 15lbs for both sexes) in previous quit attempts before relapsing back to smoking and never reaching 1-year smoke-free mark. One-year after quitting, 70% of the quitters reported a lesser weight gain than in previous quit attempts (mean 8lbs- women, 9.6lbs- men). Median weight change was 5lbs less [for both sexes] between this quit attempt vs. previous ones (p<0.0003). No difference in weight gained based on # of cigarettes smoked per day, or the use of any pharmacotherapy.
CONCLUSION: Women worry more about weight gain before they even begin to quit. In comprehensive tobacco treatment programs that incorporate behavior modification, weight concerns do not impact long-term quit rates.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Dietary education, exercise programs, and use of pedometers should be integrated into successful tobacco dependence programs to minimize weight gain and maximize quit success.
DISCLOSURE: Virginia Reichert, None.