Early and late weight gain following smoking cessation in the lung health study

Peggy O'Hara, John E Connett, Wondra W. Lee, Mitchell Nides, Robert Murray, Robert Wise

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189 Scopus citations


The authors examine weight gains associated with smoking cessation in the Lung Health Study (1986-1994) over a 5-year follow-up period. A cohort of 5,887 male and female smokers in the United States and Canada, aged 35-60 years, were randomized to either smoking intervention or usual care. Among participants who achieved sustained quitting for 5 years, women gained a mean of 5.2 (standard error, 5.0) kg in year 1 and a mean of 3.4 (standard error, 5.5) kg in years 1-5. Men gained a mean of 4.9 (standard error, 4.9) kg in year 1 and a mean of 2.6 (standard error, 5.8) kg in years 1-5. In regression analyses, smoking-change variables were the most potent predictors of weight change. Participants going from smoking to quit-smoking in a given year had mean weight gains of 2.95 kg/year (3.61%) in men and 3.09 kg/year (4.69%) in women. Over 5 years, 33% of sustained quitters gained ≥10 kg compared with 6% of continuing smokers. Also among sustained quitters, 7.6% of men and 19.1% of women gained ≥20% of baseline weight; 60% of the gain occurred in year 1, although significant weight gains continued through year 5. The average gains and the high proportions of sustained and intermittent quitters who gained excessive weight suggest the need for more effective early interventions that address both smoking cessation and weight control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-830
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
and Dr. D. H. Gonzales; University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL—Dr. W. C. Bailey (Principal Investigator), Dr. C. M. Brooks (Co-Principal Investigator), Dr. J. J. Dolce (Intervention Co-Director), Dr. P. G. Greene (Intervention Co-Director), and C. C. Crisp; University of California, Los Angeles, CA—Dr. D. P. Tashkin (Principal Investigator), Dr. V. C. Li (Co-Principal Investigator), and Dr. M. A. Nides (Intervention Director); University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada—Dr. N. R. Anthonisen (Principal Investigator, Steering Committee Chair), Dr. J. Manfreda (Co-Principal Investigator), Dr. R. P. Murray (Co-Principal Investigator/Intervention Director), and V. J. McCutcheon; University of Minnesota Coordinating Center, Minneapolis, MN—Dr. J. E. Connett (Principal Investigator), Dr. M. O. Kjelsberg (Co-Principal Investigator), M. K. Cowles, D. A. Durkin, Dr. P. L. Enright, K. J. Kurnow, W. W. Lee, P. G. Lindgren, Dr. P. O'Hara (Lung Health Study Intervention Coordinator), and H. T. Voelker; University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA—Dr. G. R. Owens (Principal Investigator), Dr. R. M. Rogers (Co-Principal Investigator), Dr. J. J. Johnston, and F. P. Pope (Intervention Director); University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT—Di. R. E. Kanner (Principal Investigator) and Dr. M. A. Rigdon (Intervention Director) (the Salt Lake City Center has been assisted by the Clinical Research Center, public health research grant M01-RR00064 from the National Center for Research Resources); staff from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD—Dr. S. S. Hurd (Director, Division of Lung Diseases), Dr. J. P. Kiley (Project Officer), and Dr. M. C. Wu (Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications); and the Safety and Data Monitoring Board—Dr. M. Becklake, Dr. B. Burrows, Dr. P. Cleary, Dr. P. Kimbel (Chairperson; deceased October 27, 1990), L. Nett, Dr. J. K. Ockene, Dr. R. Senior (Chairperson), Dr. G. L. Snider, Dr. W. O. Spitzer, and Dr. O. D. Williams.

Funding Information:
Supported by contract NO1-HR-46002 from the Division of Lung Diseases, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. The following pharmaceutical companies supplied drugs used in this study: Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Ridgefield, CT (Atrovent and placebo inhalers); and Marion Merrell Dow, Inc., Kansas City, MO (Nicorette, 2 mg).


  • Clinical trials
  • Smoking cessation
  • Weight gain


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