Smokers dealing with a weighty issue
(New York - WABC, May 17, 2006) (WABC) -- It's the bane of just about everyone who has quit, wants to quit or is trying to quit smoking cigarettes. It's the question that plagues all those people: By stopping smoking, how much weight will I gain?
Now, there's an answer that might please them.
Evelyn Rivas has a closet full of clothes that she's now too heavy to fit into. Evelyn gained twenty pounds after she quit smoking a year ago. She's so frustrated by the weight gains, she's smoking again to try and lose the weight.
"When I'm smoking, I don't have the urge to eat," she said.
Studies show that the majority of smokers who quit do gain weight. In fact, 10 percent gain as much as thirty pounds. I gained 25 when I quit 26 years ago. Thankfully I lost it, but weight gain is a worry -- and in this society especially for women.
Benjamin Rosado runs a smoking cessation clinic in the South Bronx.
"I hear the women tell me about the ice cream, the Haagen-Daz ... if they're not smoking, they're eating, so it's a big deal," he said.
But could this help? It's a drug called Naltrexone. A new study by Yale University found that quitters who took the drug reduced the weight gain by about a third.
Dr. Stephanie O'Malley, Yale University: "There is a subset of people who are very concerned about the possibility they will gain weight when they quit smoking and for them, this is a big deal."
The study subjects wore a Nicotine patch in addition to taking the drug. The possibility of quitting and not gaining as much weight appeals to Evelyn.
"That would be great. I know I could stop the smoking ... I would give it more of an effort," she said.
Dr. O'Malley says the anxiety over gaining weight can stop some people from even trying to quit smoking. And for them, this study offers some promise.
"Having a medicine that would help reduce weight gain may have them take the step in the right direction of making a quit attempt and for those people, I think a treatment like this could make a difference," she added.
Naltrexone is all ready used to treat alcoholism and addiction to morphine-like drugs. It would be up to a treating physician to decide to prescribe it to help curb weight gain for those quitting smoking.
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