One of the reasons smokers have difficulty quitting the habit is the potential weight gain that comes with withdrawal symptoms. Increased food intake has been a long-time consequence of quitting smoking, as quitters generally turn to food to appease their cravings, which may result in additional unwanted pounds. However, the temporary weight gain shouldn't be a cause for alarm, according to research.

Posted at ScienceDaily.com, the study took information from previous research, which began in 1971 and continued all the way until the mid-2000s. The participants had extensive medical examinations every four to six years to test the effects of smoking and risk factors, like blood pressure and lipid levels. The current investigation took the information from participant visits during the 1980s to the early 2000s. The participants were categorized as never smokers, current smokers, recent quitters (those who stopped smoking since their last medical exam), and long-term quitters.

Current smokers, never smokers, and long-term quitters were found to have gained an average of one to two pounds, while recent quitters gained as much as five to 10 pounds between visits. Despite the added pounds, the risk of cardiovascular disease for those who quit and are still off cigarettes six years after their previous checkup dropped by half.

Quitting may be hard and ugly, but pairing it with good exercise and a better diet can help you come out out a great deal healthier. Looking for support? Check out our GIRLTalk thread on kicking the habit.

(Photo by Morgan via Flickr Creative Commons)

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