[Weight gain and anxiety levels in recent ex-smokers]

Isabel Nerín, Asunción Beamonte, Pilar Gargallo, Adriana Jiménez-Muro, Adriana Marqueta
Archivos de Bronconeumología 2007, 43 (1): 9-15

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate weight gain and its relation to anxiety in a group of smokers after 3 months of cessation treatment.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The target population for this prospective, analytical, longitudinal study was smokers being treated in a specialist smoking cessation clinic who were still abstinent at the conclusion of a 3-month treatment program. The following variables were analyzed: age, sex, nicotine dependence (Fagerström test), daily cigarette consumption, number of pack-years, pharmacological treatment (nicotine replacement/bupropion), use of nicotine gum (yes/no), weight gain, body mass index, and degree of state and trait anxiety. Successful cessation was defined as self-reported abstinence confirmed by measurement of expired carbon monoxide (CO) level (< or = 10 ppm). Anxiety was evaluated using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. The state anxiety and weight variables were measured on 5 occasions: before smoking cessation, and at the end of week 1, month 1, month 2, and month 3 after cessation. Results for the quantitative variables were expressed as means (SD), and results for the qualitative variables were expressed as percentages and absolute frequencies.

RESULTS: The study population consisted of 122 individuals, 76 of whom were men (62%) and 46 of whom were women (38%). The mean age was 43.9 (9.9) years, and mean nicotine dependence according to the Fagerström scale was 6.2 (2.2) points. Average weight gain was 2.6 kg (3.6%), with no significant difference between the sexes. Weight gain in 25% of this population was greater than 4.2 kg, and maximum weight gain was 9.2 kg. Levels of state anxiety fell progressively as weight increased, although there was no evident relationship between the 2 variables.

CONCLUSIONS: Weight gain is moderate as smokers quit. Anxiety levels, which are greater in the first few weeks after cessation, do not explain weight variation, which is more related to the metabolic effects of nicotine rather than to psychological variables.

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