Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking

I quit smoking about a year ago, and my weight has steadily increased since. I have put on about 10-15 lbs, and I don't know what to do to stop the weight gain and get back down to my previous size.

Why all the weight gain? I eat healthier and exercise more than when I smoked (because I can actually breathe now). What can I do to get my weight under control without resorting to smoking again?

Doctor Answers 2

Smoking Cessation and Weight Gain - Reduce your caloric intake and chew a nicotine gum

Cigarette smoking is probably the most important preventable cause of death in the United States. Weight gain is a common reason for not trying to quit smoking. Weight change after smoking cessation appears to be influenced by some genetic factors. The mechanism of weight gain after smoking cessation includes increased food intake, decreased resting metabolic rate and less physical activity.

Nicotine containing gum products appear to delay weight gain following smoking cessation. Interestingly, a study in women showed that use of nicotine containing gum and a low calorie diet prevented weight gain and improved likelihood of not smoking again.

So, stop smoking and use a nicotine containing gum under the guidance of a doctor and reduce your caloric intake - all of these will increase your likelihood of succeeding.

Buffalo Phlebologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Smoking is not the answer


It is amazing to me that people sometimes resort to smoking for weight loss. It is true that smoking increases your metabolism and also satisfies an unconscious oral habit. It is also true that when someone quits smoking they generally gain a few pounds.

This can be attributed to a temporary decrease in metabolism down to baseline, food now tasting better, and an urge to satisfy your previous oral habit (smoking) with snacking. The dangers of smoking are too long to list here, but most people are aware of them. For maintainable weight loss, you need a regular exercise schedule and a healthy diet.

I would recommend keeping a log of all your food intake over a week or two and add up all the calories. Be sure to keep track of snack food and finger food. Also, start a regular schedule of exercise for at least 30 minutes five times per week.

You don't state your age or medical history in your question, but it is also very important for you to follow up regularly with your primary physician as health maintenance.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.