The yo-yo at rest

Anyone who is still smoking (there must be some of us left) is familiar with the age-old (and pretty feeble) excuse: I can quit, but I’ll gain so much weight it will add a new health risk… yada yada yada. Well, a new Japanese study blows that excuse out the door, showing that weight gain is usually temporary, and after a few years (years!) most ex-smokers revert to weights that are comparable to those of people who have never smoked.

Of course, the number of cigarettes you smoked per day helps determine your weight gain upon quitting, with people who smoked more than 25 cigarettes per day gaining more weight. The study of more than 7,000 Japanese civil servants also found that those who smoked between 1 and 24 cigarettes a day also gained weight after quitting, but tended to level off once they’d reached the weight of those who had never smoked.

The study found that regular physical activity didn’t make much difference in how much weight smokers gained after they quit, while their rate of alcohol consumption did. But overall, the news is good: quit smoking now and get all the immediate and long-term benefits, among them a return to the weight youould have been, anyway.