Document Type



Medicine and Health Sciences




Smoking cessation is associated with weight gain, but the effects of smoking cessation on measures of body composition (BC) have not been adequately evaluated. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of 16 months of cigarette abstinence on areas of BC measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA).


One hundred fifty-two postmenopausal women participated in a smoking cessation study using the nicotine patch. Secondary analyses were conducted on data from 119 subjects (age 56±7 years, range 41–78 years) who had had DXA scans at baseline and 16 months later. Participants were classified either as quitters (self-reported cigarette abstinence confirmed with exhaled carbon monoxide [co] ≤8ppm at 3 and 16 months after quit date) or as continued smokers. BC was assessed using a General Electric Lunar DXA IQ machine. Four areas of BC (kg) were measured: whole body weight, fat mass, muscle mass, and functional skeletal muscle mass in arms and legs (ASM/ht2). Multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) assessed changes in BC in quitters vs. continued smokers between baseline and 16 months of follow-up. Increases in BC measures were evaluated as a function of increased calorie intake or change in physical activity, using linear regression.


Quitters significantly increased body weight (p<0.001), fat mass (p<0.001), muscle mass (p=0.04), and functional muscle mass (p=0.004) over time, when baseline BC measures and other confounding factors were controlled. Regression analysis indicated change in BC could not be accounted for by calorie intake or physical activity.


Smoking cessation may be associated with increased fat and muscle mass in postmenopausal women. The novel finding of an increase in functional muscle mass suggests that smoking cessation could increase functional capacity. Further studies need to replicate these findings and examine mechanisms of these effects.


Originally published in :

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2010 September; 19(9): 1651–1657. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2009.1853
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article