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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Interventions for preventing weight gain after smoking cessation

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2021
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  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (92nd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (65th percentile)

Mentioned by

48 tweeters

Readers on

160 Mendeley
Interventions for preventing weight gain after smoking cessation
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, October 2021
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd006219.pub4
Pubmed ID

Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, Annika Theodoulou, Amanda Farley, Peter Hajek, Deborah Lycett, Laura L Jones, Laura Kudlek, Laura Heath, Anisa Hajizadeh, Marika Schenkels, Paul Aveyard


Most people who stop smoking gain weight. This can discourage some people from making a quit attempt and risks offsetting some, but not all, of the health advantages of quitting. Interventions to prevent weight gain could improve health outcomes, but there is a concern that they may undermine quitting. To systematically review the effects of: (1) interventions targeting post-cessation weight gain on weight change and smoking cessation (referred to as 'Part 1') and (2) interventions designed to aid smoking cessation that plausibly affect post-cessation weight gain (referred to as 'Part 2'). Part 1 - We searched the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group's Specialized Register and CENTRAL; latest search 16 October 2020. Part 2 - We searched included studies in the following 'parent' Cochrane reviews: nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), antidepressants, nicotine receptor partial agonists, e-cigarettes, and exercise interventions for smoking cessation published in Issue 10, 2020 of the Cochrane Library. We updated register searches for the review of nicotine receptor partial agonists. Part 1 - trials of interventions that targeted post-cessation weight gain and had measured weight at any follow-up point or smoking cessation, or both, six or more months after quit day. Part 2 - trials included in the selected parent Cochrane reviews reporting weight change at any time point. Screening and data extraction followed standard Cochrane methods. Change in weight was expressed as difference in weight change from baseline to follow-up between trial arms and was reported only in people abstinent from smoking. Abstinence from smoking was expressed as a risk ratio (RR). Where appropriate, we performed meta-analysis using the inverse variance method for weight, and Mantel-Haenszel method for smoking. Part 1: We include 37 completed studies; 21 are new to this update. We judged five studies to be at low risk of bias, 17 to be at unclear risk and the remainder at high risk.  An intermittent very low calorie diet (VLCD) comprising full meal replacement provided free of charge and accompanied by intensive dietitian support significantly reduced weight gain at end of treatment compared with education on how to avoid weight gain (mean difference (MD) -3.70 kg, 95% confidence interval (CI) -4.82 to -2.58; 1 study, 121 participants), but there was no evidence of benefit at 12 months (MD -1.30 kg, 95% CI -3.49 to 0.89; 1 study, 62 participants). The VLCD increased the chances of abstinence at 12 months (RR 1.73, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.73; 1 study, 287 participants). However, a second study  found that no-one completed the VLCD intervention or achieved abstinence. Interventions aimed at increasing acceptance of weight gain reported mixed effects at end of treatment, 6 months and 12 months with confidence intervals including both increases and decreases in weight gain compared with no advice or health education. Due to high heterogeneity, we did not combine the data. These interventions increased quit rates at 6 months (RR 1.42, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.96; 4 studies, 619 participants; I2 = 21%), but there was no evidence at 12 months (RR 1.25, 95% CI 0.76 to 2.06; 2 studies, 496 participants; I2 = 26%). Some pharmacological interventions tested for limiting post-cessation weight gain (PCWG) reduced weight gain at the end of treatment (dexfenfluramine, phenylpropanolamine, naltrexone). The effects of ephedrine and caffeine combined, lorcaserin, and chromium were too imprecise to give useful estimates of treatment effects. There was very low-certainty evidence that personalized weight management support reduced weight gain at end of treatment (MD -1.11 kg, 95% CI -1.93 to -0.29; 3 studies, 121 participants; I2 = 0%), but no evidence in the longer-term 12 months (MD -0.44 kg, 95% CI -2.34 to 1.46; 4 studies, 530 participants; I2 = 41%). There was low to very low-certainty evidence that detailed weight management education without personalized assessment, planning and feedback did not reduce weight gain and may have reduced smoking cessation rates (12 months: MD -0.21 kg, 95% CI -2.28 to 1.86; 2 studies, 61 participants; I2 = 0%; RR for smoking cessation 0.66, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.90; 2 studies, 522 participants; I2 = 0%). Part 2: We include 83 completed studies, 27 of which are new to this update. There was low certainty that exercise interventions led to minimal or no weight reduction compared with standard care at end of treatment (MD -0.25 kg, 95% CI -0.78 to 0.29; 4 studies, 404 participants; I2 = 0%). However, weight was reduced at 12 months (MD -2.07 kg, 95% CI -3.78 to -0.36; 3 studies, 182 participants; I2 = 0%). Both bupropion and fluoxetine limited weight gain at end of treatment (bupropion MD -1.01 kg, 95% CI -1.35 to -0.67; 10 studies, 1098 participants; I2 = 3%); (fluoxetine MD -1.01 kg, 95% CI -1.49 to -0.53; 2 studies, 144 participants; I2 = 38%; low- and very low-certainty evidence, respectively). There was no evidence of benefit at 12 months for bupropion, but estimates were imprecise (bupropion MD -0.26 kg, 95% CI -1.31 to 0.78; 7 studies, 471 participants; I2 = 0%). No studies of fluoxetine provided data at 12 months. There was moderate-certainty that NRT reduced weight at end of treatment (MD -0.52 kg, 95% CI -0.99 to -0.05; 21 studies, 2784 participants; I2 = 81%) and moderate-certainty that the effect may be similar at 12 months (MD -0.37 kg, 95% CI -0.86 to 0.11; 17 studies, 1463 participants; I2 = 0%), although the estimates are too imprecise to assess long-term benefit. There was mixed evidence of the effect of varenicline on weight, with high-certainty evidence that weight change was very modestly lower at the end of treatment (MD -0.23 kg, 95% CI -0.53 to 0.06; 14 studies, 2566 participants; I2 = 32%); a low-certainty estimate gave an imprecise estimate of higher weight at 12 months (MD 1.05 kg, 95% CI -0.58 to 2.69; 3 studies, 237 participants; I2 = 0%). Overall, there is no intervention for which there is moderate certainty of a clinically useful effect on long-term weight gain. There is also no moderate- or high-certainty evidence that interventions designed to limit weight gain reduce the chances of people achieving abstinence from smoking.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 48 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 160 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Brazil 3 2%
Canada 1 <1%
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Unknown 155 97%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Unspecified 33 21%
Student > Master 23 14%
Researcher 22 14%
Student > Ph. D. Student 15 9%
Student > Bachelor 12 8%
Other 39 24%
Unknown 16 10%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 44 28%
Unspecified 33 21%
Psychology 20 13%
Nursing and Health Professions 12 8%
Social Sciences 10 6%
Other 16 10%
Unknown 25 16%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 27. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 27 October 2021.
All research outputs
of 19,460,399 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
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Outputs of similar age
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Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 47 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 19,460,399 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,935 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 27.5. This one has done well, scoring higher than 79% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 328,429 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 92% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 47 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 65% of its contemporaries.