Enable JavaScript to visit this website.
A Guide to Smoking, Quitting and Weight
By the Quitter's Circle Staff
January 04, 2016

A Guide to Smoking, Quitting and Weight

The Ultimate Guide to Smoking and Weight
The Ultimate Guide to Smoking and Weight

You may be wondering: “Will I gain weight after quitting? If so, how much?” Worries about the possibility of gaining weight may hold smokers back from even trying to quit, but it’s important not to let this get in between you and a smokefree life. Not everyone gains weight after quitting, and there are steps you can take to help limit or avoid gaining weight.

Read on to learn how you can potentially both quit smoking and keep weight gain at bay.

Why do people gain weight when they quit smoking?

There are several reasons why quitters may gain weight. The chemicals found in cigarettes can increase the rate at which the body burns the calories in food, and when smokers quit, their metabolism changes. Additionally, food may taste better after quitting, and some former smokers substitute snacking for smoking. If you find yourself snacking to help overcome the urge to smoke, make sure to eat healthy, low-calorie food such as celery and carrots.

Remind yourself of the importance of quitting smoking.

The average quitter may gain 8-10 pounds after they quit smoking, and most of that tends to occur in the first six months. Remember, potential weight gained can be managed, and the health benefits of quitting outweigh any risks associated with weight gain. Quitting smoking decreases your risks for lung cancer, heart attack, stroke, and lung disease. Cigarette smoking has short- and long-term cardiovascular effects independent of weight gain. Some cardiovascular risk factors may improve after smoking cessation, independent of potential weight gain.

What if I don’t want to gain weight but want to quit smoking?

Take action! Quitting smoking improves lung function and may allow you to breathe easier, potentially making exercise and other activities a part of your daily routine. Increasing your activity level may help offset potential weight gain from quitting smoking. If you’re unsure how to begin, reach out to a healthcare provider for help quitting and to make an exercise plan that works for you.

Don’t forget: Diet is very important to maintaining a healthy weight. When you reach for a snack, choose carefully and avoid things with a lot of empty calories. Substituting protein-filled nuts for fatty or oily foods can help you stay fuller longer. Add more leafy greens and fruits to your diet too. Check out the many recipes available on Quitter’s Circle for some healthy cooking inspiration!

Finally, if you’re worried about how quitting smoking may change the way you look, remember that by kicking the addiction, you can start to clear up any stains on your teeth and nails and stop the damage smoking causes to your skin.

There are so many benefits to quitting smoking. Don’t let a scale keep you from taking on a healthier, smokefree life.


See additional quit smoking resources from our partner American Lung Association.