Half of smokers delay quitting over weight gain worries

smoking weight loss

Around half of all smokers put off quitting as they’re worried about gaining weight if they do, according to a new survey.

The survey of over 2,000 former and current smokers by Slimming World found that such fears lead to people delaying quitting by seven-and-a-half years on average.

Over this prolonged period of deliberation, an average smoker would consume 41,000 cigarettes at a cost of around £20,000.

A ‘horrifying’ impact

A study in the British Medical Journal suggests that one cigarette costs around 11 minutes of a smoker’s life. On this basis, the 41,000 cigarettes would reduce the life span by 314 days.

Dr Jacquie Lavin, head of nutrition at Slimming World, described the results as "horrifying”.

She said it’s worrying to learn so many people continue to smoke simply because they assume they will gain weight if they give up.

Finding a balance

Dr Lavin admits that giving up smoking and managing weight at the same time can prove a challenge for those without any support network.

This can be down to the fact that once people give up, their appetites and full sense of taste start to return, while many turn to food either out of boredom or to have something in their hands instead of a cigarette.

The survey found the average person smokes 15 per day, while the average cost of 20 cigarettes is £9.40.

Smoking, weight and cancer

Smoking and obesity are the two main causes of cancer in the UK, with Cancer Research UK predicting that nearly 700,000 people could develop weight-related cancer over the next two decades.

Cancers linked to obesity include bowel, breast, gallbladder, liver, kidney, womb, pancreatic, oesophageal, and aggressive forms of ovarian and prostate cancer.

This highlights the importance of people managing their weight after they quit smoking.

The Slimming World poll was conducted as part of its commitment to the ‘Stoptober’ partnership with Public Health England.


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