Online Program

Perceived Weight Gain due to Quitting Smoking as a Correlate to Physical Activity, Smoking, and Quitting Behavior among Young College Adults

Monday, November 2, 2015

Vahe Heboyan, PhD, Clinical and Digital Health Sciences, Augusta University, Augusta, GA
Andrew W. Pope, DrPH, Arnold School Office of Public Health Practice, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Theresa Oniffrey, MPH, EMT-P, School Mental Health Team, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Introduction: Research shows that physical activity (PA) reduces post-cessation weight gain and smoking relapse and increases quitter’s self-esteem and the ability to cope during quitting.

This study evaluated the impact of weight gain belief due to quitting on the (i) level of PA (MET-min/week), (ii) cigarette consumption, and (iii) quitting behavior by socio-economic and demographic characteristics among young college adults.

Methods: Cross-sectional data (n=1,299, 23%) were collected during 2013 from four public universities in South Carolina. Multivariate regression analysis models were used to estimate the association between weight gain concern, PA, cigarette consumption, quitting behavior, and socio-economic and demographic characteristics.

Results: Light smokers (<200 cigs/month) who disagree that quitting may lead to weight gain, participate in higher levels of PA (p<0.07). Furthermore, over 52% of current smokers and 38% of non-smokers believe that quitting may lead to weight gain. However, weight gain concern was not reported among the primary factors affecting decisions to relapse or quit smoking. Those who believe quitting will probably lead to weight gain, on average, smoke 54 more cigarettes per month (p<0.05). Interestingly, those who disagree with the weight gain belief, indicate lower intention to quit (43.2%) than those who agree (48.4%) while a large portion is undecided (44.9% and 39.7%).

Conclusion: Promoting PA, nutrition, and health education among smokers on university campuses and other venues with high concentrations of college-age adults can mitigate their concern about post-quitting weight gain, hesitation to quit or relapse, and lead to establishment of healthier lifestyle behaviors.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Define the impact of weight gain belief due to quitting on the level of PA (MET-min/week) and smoking behavior among young college adults.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Tobacco Control

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: as a Postdoc Fellow I was involved in the development of the study and data collection instruments. I supervised data collection process and lead the analysis. Additionally, my current research focuses on socio-economic and behavioral determinants of health, physical activity, and substance abuse.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.