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Why You Gain Weight When You Quit Smoking and What to Do About It

Dr. Charlie Seltzer, Physician and Weight Loss Expert, Dr. Charlie Seltzer, M.D.

Advice From a Former Smoker

It's not what you want to hear, but the truth is that more likely than not, you will gain weight when you quit smoking. That said, don't let it stop you. If you are sick of smoking, now is the time to stop.

It won't get any easier later on and you'll still gain weight. Besides, there are many ways to minimize the weight gain. On top of that, I guarantee that you will feel so much better, both mentally and physically, that a few extra pounds are not going to bother you.

I have a few credentials in this department, by the way. I was a heavy smoker for more than 30 years and I've been smoke-free (albeit a bit heavier) for more than a decade.

Now, I'm going to give you an explanation of why you gain weight when you quit smoking and what you can do to counteract or minimize it. Most of all, I don't want you to use the probability of weight gain as an excuse not to quit. You can get a new wardrobe. You can't get a new pair of lungs. With some determination and a little patience, you can quit smoking and lose what you gain in good time.

How Much Weight Will I Gain If I Quit Smoking?

People gain about two pounds within the first couple of weeks of quitting. On average, former smokers gain between 5 and 7 pounds within six months of kicking the habit.

Some people gain as much as 30 pounds, but that is more likely to happen to a person who is very underweight or very overweight. Others gain no weight at all. It depends on your gender, age, activity level, food intake, and genetic predisposition.

Don't worry about it. Most people will shed the extra weight as the body adjusts to life without nicotine. For others, a real effort at weight loss will be required. For a few the weight gain is permanent. But as one doctor told me, "you would have to gain 100 pounds to equal the health risk of continuing to smoke."

How Long Do You Gain Weight After You Stop Smoking?

Studies show that most weight gain happens within the first six months after quitting. People who are either underweight (with a BMI of 18) or overweight (BMI over 29) tend to gain the most weight. In one study, about 10% of smokers who quit smoking gained close to 30 pounds.

How to Quit Smoking Without Gaining Weight

  • Eat at least 250 fewer calories a day than you ate before you quit.
  • Write down everything you eat. This will help you avoid mindless snacking.
  • Eat regular meals.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • If you used to smoke when you had a cup of coffee, switch to tea.
  • Exercise a half-hour every day. Include weight-bearing exercise in your routine at least twice a week.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Include high-fiber foods in your diet.

What to Eat When You're Quitting Smoking

Nutritionists recommend a diet that is high in:

  • protein (keep you full longer and good for brain chemistry)
  • minerals (nuts and seeds)
  • healthy fats (avocado)
  • complex carbohydrates (also keep you full longer)
  • fiber and water (to help your body eliminate toxins)

I Quit Smoking but I Can't Lose Weight!

“My best advice is to work with a registered dietitian nutritionist who can help guide you through the transition," says Malorie Blake, a registered dietitian nutritionist with EduPlated. "I often see individuals who are trying to quit smoking use food to replace tobacco and end up creating addictive behaviors surrounding food. Working with an RD can help with intuitive eating, an approach that uses mindfulness to help you stay on track with your food choices. This can be a huge help for those that are struggling.”

A vintage cigarette ad recommends smoking as a way to lose weight

A vintage cigarette ad recommends smoking as a way to lose weight

Why Is Weight Gain a Side Effect of Quitting Smoking?

"Nicotine increases metabolism and is a potent appetite suppressant," says Dr. Charlie Seltzer, a Philadelphia-based physician who specializes in weight loss. "As well, smoking keeps your hands busy, and when that goes away, nibbling and picking at food is a common behavior people substitute for the activity."

Nicotine also constricts your blood vessels and makes your heart beat faster. When you quit smoking, your metabolism slows down to the tune of about 250 calories a day. That means that even if you don't eat any more than you did when you smoked, you will gain some weight unless you eat at least 250 calories less. The actual calorie count varies from person to person, but in general, that is the drill.

Add to this the fact that nicotine dulls the appetite and the taste buds. When you quit smoking you are suddenly hungrier and food tastes better. Do you remember losing a few pounds when you first started smoking? I know I do. Well, when you quit it is payback time. That's all.

Actually, back in the day, when half the adult American population smoked and nobody knew about the dangers, doctors recommended smoking as an aid to digestion and a way to lose weight. Can you believe it? Nobody thought about the health consequences because nobody knew there were any, and the tobacco companies were raking it in hand over fist, so who cared?

It was only in the 1970s, after the connection between lung cancer and smoking was firmly established, that anyone even hinted at the fact that smoking was truly an addiction. Before that time it was billed as merely a " bad habit" which left the truly addicted feeling pretty rotten about their inability to just stop cold turkey.

How I Minimized Weight Gain and Stayed off Cigarettes

1. I concentrated on one thing at a time

For the first three months or so, you will have enough to do to just concentrate on not picking up the first cigarette. There will be physical cravings as your blood sugar goes up and down and your body gets used to being without nicotine. This is a very tough addiction to crack, so do not worry about whether or not you are gaining weight. Don't think about it and do not, under any circumstances weigh yourself. If your clothes feel tight, buy new clothes. Trying to focus on losing weight while in the early stages of smoking cessation is a good way to fail at both things. Keep your mind on not smoking.

However, if you can, I would suggest at least one-half hour of aerobic exercise every day—anything from a brisk walk to running a marathon or swimming laps will do, depending on your level of fitness and what is available. Walking is available to everyone and requires no special clothing or equipment and best of all, almost everyone knows how to do it. At the very least, take a half-hour walk once or twice a day. Exercise will not only help with the cravings, but it will also help you use up those extra 250 calories to rev up your metabolism.

2. I ate regular meals

Food is going to taste good and you are going to be hungry. Do not, under any circumstances, skip meals, especially if you used to do it routinely when you smoked. This is a real no-no. You need to keep your blood sugar as even as possible and skipping meals will just make you hungrier. It will be easier to exercise some sort of portion control if you eat three meals and two snacks a day. Forget skipping breakfast. No more coffee and cigarettes in the car on the way to work in the morning.

They say you should eat healthy things like carrot sticks and apples, but frankly, when I was giving up smoking they just didn't do it for me. I was more into pretzels and nuts. It is wise to stay away from sweets and junk food as much as you can, but give yourself permission to do what needs to be done so you don't start smoking. Remember that most cravings don't last more than 15 minutes. Try to ride them out.

3. I ate well

Do not deny yourself, but do be mindful and try to concentrate on whole grains, fruits, and veggies rather than processed snack foods. Stay away from the French fries and cheese doodles, not to mention M&Ms and banana splits. You want to avoid sweets because they cause a spike in blood sugar and a corresponding dip afterward. The blood sugar roller coaster increases cravings.

4. I avoided alcohol

There are two problems with alcohol for the new ex-smoker: It lowers your inhibitions and makes it more likely that you will give in to the urge to smoke, and it's full of empty calories. Avoiding it is an easy way to keep from gaining weight in your early post-smoking days, not to mention that smoking and drinking just seem to go together.

If you drink you are definitely going to want to smoke. I don't know why, but booze and coffee are both powerful triggers that make most newly ex-smokers want to light up. One day you will be able to have a beer or a glass of wine with no accompanying desire to smoke and one day your metabolism will have adjusted to your non-smoking life, but for now, stick to mineral water, OK?

5. I included weight-bearing exercise in my routine at least twice a week

Muscle burns more calories than fat, and since you want to keep your metabolism perking along, an increase in muscle tissue is in order. You can achieve this by adding hand weights at home or a workout with a trainer at the gym to your schedule. Don't tell me you can't afford it or don't have time. In a pinch, get out in the garden and lift heavy rocks or fill gallon containers with water and lift them. You'll find lots of workouts online. No excuses here, please. Weight-bearing exercise is really important to minimize your post-smoking weight gain and any cravings you may still be experiencing.

6. I drank lots of water

You want to flush your system by drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. It takes at least three months to get all the toxins out of your system and being well-hydrated will speed up the process. Nicotine isn't the only thing your body is getting rid of. There are something like 300 toxic substances in cigarette smoke, including carbon monoxide, lead, and formaldehyde.

7. I chose high-fiber foods and complex carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates don't cause a spike in blood sugar and fiber makes you feel fuller, especially if you are following rule number 5 above. Avoid sweets as much as you can and leave the soda alone too. Sugar will cause spikes in blood sugar that will increase cigarette cravings and all those sweet goodies will pack on the pounds.

Will Nicotine Replacement Therapy Keep Me From Gaining Weight?

Nicotine-replacement medication delays but does not prevent weight gain after quitting smoking. Once the drug regimen is over, your weight will begin to increase to the level it would have been if you hadn't taken the medication. However, some health professionals recommend this temporary solution to increase a smoker's motivation to quit, allowing them time to focus on quitting smoking first and then address diet and exercise later.

If I Stop Smoking Weed, Will I Gain Weight?

Most likely, no. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Montreal found that cannabis and tobacco have opposite effects on weight gain. While tobacco suppresses appetite, cannabis stimulates it. According to the study, gender plays a role in whether marijuana smokers gain weight, or not. Men who smoked marijuana gained weight, while men who smoked tobacco did not. Women who smoked marijuana were not as likely to gain weight as men.

To sum up, some weight gain when you give up smoking is probably inevitable, but it need not be permanent. You can minimize it, or avoid it entirely, by staying hydrated, getting plenty of both aerobic and weight-bearing exercise, and choosing foods that are good for you as well as good tasting. Quitting is not easy, but millions of people have done it and you can too. It's well worth the effort. I promise.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

Question: what is the usual time period for gaining weight after quit smoking ?

Answer: It is very individual -- depends on many things and some people gain only a few pounds. Others gain a lot, as I did, but then again I was smoking two and a half to three packs a day for many years. I can only tell you about my own experience. I gained 60 lbs (I am very tall and have a large frame) in just under a year. I eventually lost about 30 lbs. It took me several years to do it. Just two years ago I went low carb, and took off the other 30 lbs -- I have not smoked a cigarette in 18 years.

Question: I quit smoking 7 years ago and I’ve cut my caloric intake and am extremely physically active, yet I can’t lose a pound, when will I lose the weight?

Answer: See your doctor or a nutritionist about this as it is an unusual situation.

© 2010 Roberta Kyle


Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on October 20, 2019:

HI Elaine and congratulations . You have surely added years to your life by giving up cigarettes. I gained a lot of weight when I quit and I was definitely over 50 when I quit for good. I finally took off the weight via low carb or keto diet, albeit some years later. Keep up the good work

Elaine Carr on July 18, 2019:

off cigs lil over a year now. FINALLY!!! Ugh, up 30 lbs, and still stuffing my face. My mind is still playing on my addiction, telling me not making me healthier, fat and less energy. After reading here am understanding the over 50 yrs on is going to take this older body longer to adjust. MY ADVICE to the young smokers------ take the time to tough it NOW while your body bounces back quicker.

Don on April 02, 2018:

I smoked for 45 years and just turned 59 I quit the habit 3 months ago just cold turkey .I haven't gained wait or lost any , to me it's the triggers like morning coffee or just after sex or seeing someone else light up that's hard.

Tracy on March 30, 2018:

Well I stopped smoking three months ago. Have already gained 14lb from snacking. Need to change my habbits before I gain too much more

Randy on March 15, 2018:

Yes I stopped smoking 8 months ago and the weight gain is making me crazy. Not 5 or 10 pounds I am up 30 pounds. I am almost at the point of going back to smoking again. I have tried diets nothing is working. I told my girl friend one more diet to try can not take the weight.

Helen on October 08, 2017:

OMG me too faded jeans. I just bought new pants - all elastic this time. Totally gained in my torso. Quit in July 2016 and am still waiting to feel the benefit. The weight gain makes yoga, ballet and tap harder. I did better before. Ugh. I am almost 70 and had been a smoker for 50 years. Just decided one day that I was too old to smoke. It did help that there is no where left to smoke except hiding in your own backyard! Now what, I am miserable.

Lyndsey Knox on April 13, 2017:

Hey. I am 42 female. Like faded jeans I have gained 24lbs since I gave up in october 2016.

I am becoming so depressed about my weight. I am cycling 20 miles 6 times a week. I eat protein and salad with low carb diet. I drink once a month. I hate that I have no clothes to go out in and I feel fat and ugly.

I have aches and pains everywhere particularly my joints since I gave up.

I had more energy when I was a smoker.

In all honesty I have seen no improvement in my health if anything I feel worse.

Had anyone any advice? Every time I manage to get a lb off. If I even walk past sugar I will gain 2lbs for the effort. I kid not. I was away one weekend and gained 13lbs over the weekend because we were drinking alcohol every day.

I am so down about this.

Chris Jankuc on December 13, 2016:

Great topic, thanks for writing about it. I really wish that information was readily available to all potential new quitters, since one can really take steps to try to avoid the weight gain after quitting smoking. I know that despite revived taste buds and increased appetite, a new quitter can gain weight without eating more at all. As you mention nicotine being a stimulant and how that changes your metabolism to the tune of roughly 250 calories a day. If a soon to be quitter approaches their quit with this knowledge they can easily adjust the calorie intake or their workout regimen to make up for their difference.

I assume this information has to be dug up, because certain people feel that knowing these facts upfront could potentially turn someone away from quitting smoking, which while potentially correct - leaves those who like to arm themselves with all the knowledge they can, in the dark. I quit roughly a year ago, along with my GF and when we quit, we were using controlled nutritional plan and we were in the middle of p90x workout 90 day routine, that's 6 extreme 60-90 min workouts a week. P90x workouts usually burn 400-800 calories each, not to mention increased metabolism, decrease in fat and increase in muscle mass etc. We kept our nutrition unchanged after quitting. Despite all that, I have gained roughly 40 lbs and my GF possible half of that. We take pride in being fit, so this really sucks, even if we both love being non smokers and even the weight gain is certainly worth it.

If you do not exercise regularly or eat whatever, it has to be easy to avoid the weight gain, but if you are doing both - there is very little room for any adjustments to avoid it. I suppose creating calorie deficit is the only option, but because of extreme physical strain coming from the workouts, there isn't a whole lot of wiggle room there either.

One way or another, thank you for spreading this moist important information!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on November 19, 2016:

Hello Faded Jeans. I hear you too and identify with your frustration. 90 lbs is a LOT to gain. I gained over 60 the first time I quit and started smoking again, but then I was a very heavy smoker for many years. I don't recommend following in my footsteps. All I can think of in the way of advice is sharing your story with your doctor, if you haven't already and getting some structured help with diet and exercise. Don't blame you for hating it, but hope you hang in for the eventual benefits

Faded Jeans on November 19, 2016:

Women in my 50's.

I quit 14 months ago AND GAINED 90 POUNDS. I am now so fat I'm unable to enjoy my husband (sex), or all of my clothes I could wear until this. New clothes are out of the question because of expense. Going FROM a SIZE 10 ... zooming UP to a SIZE 22 is not worth it to me. Most of the time I enjoyed smoking, I only quit to keep a promise to my new husband. NOW I AM AN UGLY FAT FAT FAT TOAD, unable to fit into my clothes, unable to physically have sex with my husband. IT'S GROSS! ROLLS and ROLLS of FAT sweat and stink, my inner thighs now rub together it's so sickening, I WISH I HAD NEVER QUIT.... I will never *be able* to go back to the women that I was and it disgusts me! - I can't even bend over to tie my own shoes! AND THE TRUTH IS my health did not improve, my energy level did not change, nor did my breathing improve - My hair, skin and nails DID NOT CHANGE! -- so whatever propaganda everyone else shoves down our throats, now hear this -- IT'S NOT ALWAYS TRUE.


quitagain on November 07, 2016:

Hello, I quit smoking for 8 years. 8. When I had bronchitis, I quit cold turkey. During that 8 years there were a handful of times that I would smoke socially or if something really stressed me. Maybe 6 to 8 times and everyone would comment how they wished they could just put it down the way I did. THEN all hell broke loose in ny marriage (spare you the detail other than to say god is good and we are still married and getting better ) and I started smoking regularly and it lasted for a year. I tried to quit probably 17 times or more. Even quit for a month once. Never had that problem previously. I am now on day 8 and have made up my mond that I cant just pick them up and put them down anymore. So for me, not even 1 puff is the way its gotta be. And yes ive put on 3 lbs already which is why I looked yp this post. Thanks very informative.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on April 30, 2016:

Hi Teletubby, Andrea, Jane and Kellen... sorry I haven't replied to comments here in weeks not days. My bad. Anyway, thank you all for reading and sharing your personal stories. I gained a lot of weight when I quit-- the number of pounds doesn't matter but the feeling of being FAT does. It really is discourging to eat 1600 calories and work out daily at the gym and not lose even one pound...... but listen.... if you stick with it, it will help you not gain any more and I really promise you the weight will eventually come off. It may take it may take weeks, months or even a year or more before this happens, but it will happen. And you won't feel any better about yourself if you start smoking again. I promise you that too. So relax, give yourself a pat on the back for quitting, buy some new clothes a size larger and keep going to the gym. BTW Weight Watchers is a wonderful program. I recommend it highly.

kellen on April 30, 2016:

Everyone I know who's quit smoking has gained weight and only one has lost any of it. Their habits and diets are better, but they're still carrying an extra ten to thirty-five pounds.

My doctor told me 'eat what you like: when your body stabilizes, the weight will come right back off'. She was wrong: I may have better habits and a healthier diet, but I've still got thirty of the forty pounds, and more people snarking at me about being fat than ever complained about my smoking.

I'm giving it another month, and if it doesn't change, I'll be back to smoking. The anti-depressants haven't done a thing (three different meds at different doses), and I might as well die of cancer as an obesity-related heart attack.

JaneM on April 10, 2016:

What a fantastic read!! i,ve been searching every where for something that makes sense and finally found it here, almost 4 wks smoke free and 10 lbs heavier, avid gym member, weigh watchers member.. i guess the key is to keep doing what i,m doing and let my body adjust?

Andrea Luciano on March 03, 2016:

I've gained 30 lbs. I'm freaking out. I'm only 5'2. Ppl are wondering!!!

telatubby on April 27, 2015:

I recently stop smoking 4 months ago I have been on steroids since January for respiratory problems with this being said I have put on 30 plus pounds I'm not smoking and my respiratory problems are healed but now I look like a Teletubby very distraught and depressed with my new body I feel trapped inside and can't make my way out I have cut downto 1600 calories a day and walk 2 miles a day r should I say waddle

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on June 27, 2014:

thank you kenyaentrepreneur and abidareacode for reading and commenting. Every voice is heard I think, and every experience is valid. The companies that manufacture nicotine gum and lozenges know the risks. They are not going to stop manufacturing their products, nor should they, since these can be helpful in giving up cigarettes...... but that said, we all need to know what the risks are and that the power of nicotine addiction is very strong.

abidareacode from Areacode , Kerala, India on June 25, 2014:

It is interesting to know that quitting from smoking increases weight. Thanks for sharing this.As an experienced person I think you should raise your voice against the companies that provide this injurious substances to people.

Daniel Long from All Over on May 30, 2014:

Holy cow! I had no idea!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on November 11, 2013:

Don't do it, Shazza-- you've worked so hard to kick cigarettes. Please don't light up even one. It is not the solution. Up the time you spend at the gym and go buy yourself some roomier clothes. The weight will come off eventually. Just give it time. It's hard to feel less attractive because of the extra pounds, but in the long run, you will will be more attractive without the smoker's cough and lousy teeth and smokey smelly hair and notice I am not even mentioning the " C" word. Please just give it time.

Shazza on August 12, 2012:

Shazza, hi I stopped smoking 3 Mths ago and it's getting me so p###ed of as I have put on 10 lbs. I go running 2/3 times a wk and I am eating health, but got to admit I have started snacking, really crave sweet things so joined gym this wk to try and do more exercise. If this doesn't work I'll be back to smoking again.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on July 31, 2012:

That is totally great, M and thanks for sharing. It is important for people to know that some people have an easier time quitting than others and I'd like to add that easy or hard, it's a real achievement to quit so congratulations.

M on July 30, 2012:

That sucks for those who gain. I quit in February and have since lost 5lbs. I only have desire to smoke when I see others doing it, so I probably was never actually addicted.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 10, 2012:

Just keep doing what you are doing Stacy8, and don't worry. If you hadn't been walking and watching calories, you would probably have gained more. It has only been three months. Your body is still getting used to being smoke free. It will give up those pounds more easily in a little time-- don't get depressed, just congratulate yourself on being smoke free and wait at least another six months-- I bet you will start to shed a few pounds by then. 8 lbs is really not bad at all.

Stacy8 on May 10, 2012:

I quit smoking 3 months ago and I've gained 8 pounds! I'm very concerned about my weight & this gain is a huge problem for me. I do & have exercised - walk 5-7 miles 5-6 times a week and try to fit Zumba in when possible. I watch my calorie intake and still can't seem to get back to my original weight. I'm doing good with the smoke free thing it's just the weight thats depressing the crap out of me!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 03, 2012:

Good luck Foxy--Don't quit now-- the hardest part is behind you and the weight WILL come off eventually. Keep going to the gym and buy some larger clothes. You smoked for many years, it is just going to take your body a little more time to re-adjust.

Don't confuse cigarette cravings with being hungry-- it's easy to do. I just wrote another hub with more tips on weight loss for ex smokers. Here's the url. Go have a look and be patient with yourself.

I was about the age you are when I quit--it takes older bodies a bit more time to adjust, but really, it is soooooo worth it. Please don't give up. I'm pulling for you.

Foxy on May 03, 2012:

Well I am female 57 yrs old never had a weight problem and then I quit smoking Aug 2 2011, It has been the hardest thing I ever did . I have gained 30 pounds and it sucks, I have started working out 3 times a week at the jym , I babysit a 18 month old toddler, and i am still gaining. I have learned that food taste great.. I smoked 30 or so smokes a day before and hardly ate anything , so after 8 months I am really working on losing this dam weight. Last time I tried quitting I got this far and hated the weight thing ,,, I am going to get past it this time and not SMOKE , I will get to the year this time and lose the weight ,,,, wish me luck and I do feel better , just fat

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on April 19, 2012:

Congrats on quitting Sylvia and don't stop now. It will level out. It just takes time-- I know you just want to chew on something all the time LOL. It's the blood sugar thing. All I can say is keep working out-- never never go without breakfast and try to chomp on stuff that isn't too fattening-- plain unbuttered popcorn is good if you like it. Fills you up.... just don't stop now. Whatever you do don't smoke even one cigarette and don't worry-- It will come off and you will feel better. I promise.

Sylvia on April 19, 2012:

Thanks so much for this info. I quit a little over 1 month ago and around the same time I had a cortisone shot in my back. Since then I have gained 13 lbs and still going. I thought it was due to the cortisone shot but the Dr. kept telling me it should not cause weight gain. So I talked to a nurse that quit and she said she gained 30 lbs in one month after she quit. I have started working out again but I seem to be hungry all the time! I can't wait till this levels out because I can't afford new clothes. I used my cigarette money to join the gym!

nicole on April 17, 2012:

hi,Im a 36 year young female who has been smoking for about twenty years im weighing around 120lbs.and i have decided to quit for the sake of gaining weight with all these different comments im sure to get exactly what i want from this.Thanx looks like ill be just fine

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on April 05, 2012:

Hi diya-- I would say concentrate on quitting smoking first and don't worry about the weight. If you are really active you may not gain much or any at all and it will come off once your body adjusts to doing without nicotine. Just tackle one thing at a time. Get off the cigarettes first. There is lots of help out there for quitting and lots of ways to do it. Just start and take it one step at a time. The best I can do for you is to wish you good luck and much success.

diya22 on April 05, 2012:

hi im a smoker and im 22 years old i have been smoking since ivr been 12years old it have been keeping my weight down alot but i want to gain weight and quit somking can u please help me

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on March 18, 2012:

Thank you waytostopsmoking-- I see by your name that you too know something about this topic-- thanks for stopping by and for the kind words as well.

waytostopsmoking on March 18, 2012:

Excellent hub with useful advice. Good work!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on March 11, 2012:

Hi Marty-and congats on getting off cigs. Hang in, 14 lbs isn't so much and I bet you will unload it in another year or so. Smoking again is definitely a baaaaad idea :-)

Marty on March 10, 2012:

THANK YOU!! I'm off the smokes over a year. I put on 14 pounds and it seems to have leveled off at that. Then a heinous thought of beginning smoking again to lose weight crept into my head. I happened upon this article in an attempt to see which is better, being overweight-some or a smoker. You have removed my "back to smoking idea." Many thanks... I'll live with 14 pounds extra for now.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 14, 2012:

Oh Abdu-- you have got a real challenge there and I relate to scarfing down the Nutella. My main advice would be to not use this as an excuse to start smoking again because it will pass and if you start to smoke, you'll only have to quit all over again later.

The weight will come off.It really will but right now your body is adjusting bigtime. I'd say drink lots of water and get the nutella out of the house and try chewing sugarless gum, but don't be surprised at your weight gain. Just buy some new clothes and get ready to walk, swim, go to the gym or do whatever it takes once the cast is off and you are healed.

Good luck and don't worry-- the weight WILL come off eventually.

Abdu on February 14, 2012:

i forgot to mention that i am very happy with quitting i feel like Iam FREE again .. i just want to keep my sexy body :D because it took me so long to get in shape .. thanx again

Abdu on February 14, 2012:

hello , i want to thank you for this beautiful article its one of the best i have read .. but i have a very big problem :( i am a student pilot 22yo (5y smoker) and had a surgery on my left hand(tendon repair) 2 weeks ago and had to stop smoking (cig and pot) to increase the healing process as i have limited time or else i will lose my job :(( the problm is i already gained 4kg(9Ibs) in 10 days cuz i spend most of my sitting in front of the laptop eating sweets (finished a jar of nutella in 4 days :D and i cant do sport or even walking until i remove the cast .. so what can i do to prevent turning into a BIG FAT bear????? :( i bought many fruits and zero fat yougrt as you said but what else .. thanks for your time

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on February 07, 2012:

Hi hardtoquit-- wow you started young so no wonder quitting seems daunting. I would absolutely urge to you quit. Cold turkey is hard but possible and some people say it is the best way to go. I was never able to do it though I tried many times. There is no ideal quit day, but I would urge you to prepare for quitting by scouting various sites and support groups online( there are tons of them) and by setting a specific date. Get all cigarettes and smoking paraphanalia out of your house and don't be around smokers for the first few days--you can choose to go to work or stay home for the first couple of days, depends on you--either way it is important to not have even one puff. As for weight-- everyone is different. Most people do gain at least a few pounds but a few do not. Generally speaking heavy smokers tend to gain more, but like you say, there are no guarantees. Here's a link to another hub I wrote with some tips for quitting based on my own experience. Hope it helps a bit and good luck. Let me know how it's going. I have my fingers crossed for you

hardtoquit on February 07, 2012:

Ive been smoking for 14 years Im 26. I actually dont smoke that much i smoke less then a half pack a day but its still so hard to put it down in even talking about it it makes me want one. Im scared though because three people in my family are all ill from smoking cigeretes i want so bad to quite. is quiting cold turkey really possible? and what would you say is an ideal quite day? should i quite on a day when i have no work or would working help me to make it threw the days with out wanting it? at the beginging you were saying that if you smoke over a pack a day you'll gain wait but what about people who smoke less is there no garrentte that you wont gain weight?

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on January 01, 2012:

Well, John, that's the first time I've heard that one-- but I imagine you will put on a few pounds just in the normal course of quitting and having a better appetite along with a slower metabolism. If you don't gain weight just from having quit, you might want to consult a nutritionist or nutritionally oriented physician. In any case, gain or lose--- congratulations on having quit. It's a big step.

John on December 31, 2011:

Hey Robie, this is a great hub, thank you for the information. I have a question to ask, I just recently quit smoking (Thank god) and I'm actually severely underweight (Male, 6ft, 140 pounds) so I was wondering if there's a way that I could leverage my cessation into about 30 pounds of weight without being unhealthy? Thank you.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on December 14, 2011:

Congrats to you too, Vickey and I hope number 11 is the last infection you have. Good luck to you and thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

vickey on December 13, 2011:

I quit smoking 3 months ago.. 13 weeks and 2 days to be exact. Ive gained little weight, but ive also been real sick for about 10 weeks, on antibiotics and medication.. i smoked for ten years.. im 22 and started when i was 12 what made me really want to quit was having a dream i had lung cancer, the next morning i woke up and quit cold turkey.. im getting a little better.. just need to do something to control the stress.. i ended up with a total of 10 infections since i quit, and possibly my 11th now.. ill find out more tomorrow.. but nice post, i was just reading it for the hell of it, basically bc i wanted to know more information. Bc everytime i go to the doctors im a pound or two more heavier.. my normal weight is 108 and today i was weighed at 118 with sneakers on.. but u cant really see it, plus i have a 2 year old.. and i also plan on starting yoga soon. Congrats to all you ex-smokers, i had it easy i guess bc i became sick, so i didn't really crave one.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on November 25, 2011:

It is all about withdrawal, diane and as long as you do not smoke even one, it will pass. Hang in.

There are lots of online message boards and forums where you can find fellow sufferers and get information. Here's a link that may help

diane245 on November 24, 2011:

I am about 4 or 5 days into it, quit because I couldn't taste them because of some med the dr gave me..I want one but am trying toi ride it out God I feel like I am going crazy..having weird memories but at least my brain is working,, some scared feelings is it normal Thank you

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on November 12, 2011:

Hey Steve-- just remember it will pass. Best thing to do with the mood swings is activity-- run, walk, swim, go work out at the gym, whatever. Drink lots of water and remember that the feeling will pass. Stick with it and good luck

steve on November 12, 2011:

i am trying to pack up smoking and feel like crying what's the best way to take my mind off it.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on October 15, 2011:

Thanks for reading and commenting, lazko-- and congratulations on your achievement.

lazko from the Earth on October 15, 2011:

Great and useful Hub! Thank you. I stopped to smoke in the past and did really increased my weight. It was due to the amount of food I used to eat while I was without nicotine. I think if you increase your physical activity it all will be fine and regular. That was what I did and it worked for me.

productwhiz from Florida on October 14, 2011:

Very informative hub quitting smoking can be a tough thing to do but the reward doubles its worth. i just lost over 10pounds by kicking out a lot of my bad habits

My story

jewbird on October 02, 2011:

Many thanks

Becks on October 02, 2011:

Hi. My name is Rebekka, im 18 and in the middle of stopping smoking. I actually stopped smoking to help gain weight because im around 45kg and im underweight for my age. Ive been smoking since i was 11, and i just wanted to know how long it will take me to put on weight?

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on July 10, 2011:

Thanks medwalls, and I just checked out your blog-- very nice and filled with solid information about obesity. I'll go on over and do a bit more checking when I have more time. Thanks for stopping by

medwalls on July 10, 2011:

super cool hub

very nice

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on July 03, 2011:

Midasfx-- thanks for sharing that-- this is really interesting. I need to research connections between smoking pot and weight gain-- wonder if others have had this experience. I never smoked enough pot for it to make a difference, but I was a 3 pack a day smoker of cigarettes and put on 60 lbs when I quit.

liked my new healthier lifestyle and lost about half the weight eventually and just learned to live as a slightely heavier but healtheir person for the rest of it.

Midasfx on July 02, 2011:

DJ , I have also been there. I quit smoking cigs and pot and I quickly gained weight, i think about 40 lbs. Brought me up to 190. That was about 2 years ago, I have been living a healthier life and got my weight back down to around 160. But quitting smoking ( and I loved to smoke ^_^ ) was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on July 01, 2011:

Now That is interesting, DJ-- haven't smoked pot in years, but seem to remember I got famished when I smoked not the other way around-- oh well, congrats on your marriage. Maybe you should write a book called " The Marijuana Diet" :-))) with recipes of course.

DJ Funktual from One Nation Under a Groove on July 01, 2011:

Okay, here's my truth to share. I don't smoke cigarettes but I can tell that when I quit smoking pot to save money for my wedding I blew up pretty good and fat. After the honeymoon I started smoking again and thankfully returned to normal size. Funny thing is, all my wedding pictures are of a fat me that nobody really knows. lol

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on July 01, 2011:

That's good to hear, glass visage-- it is possible to do but takes concentration-- kudos to your mom and nice to see you :-)

glassvisage from Northern California on June 30, 2011:

My mom kept eating carrots so she could have something in her mouth other than cigarettes... I think she transitioned just fine! :)

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 30, 2011:

and thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, khmohsin-- good for you. Quitting is tough, but it is well worth it. I promise.

khmohsin on May 30, 2011:

This information is great! I've been looking for tips to Quit Smoking that may help. Thank you!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 15, 2011:

I put on weight too, but then eventually lost much of it and like you have never regretted giving up smoking. My doctor said I would have had to gain 100 lbs or more to equal the health damage that smoking was doing to my body.

Paul Goodman from Florida USA on May 15, 2011:

I put on lots of weight when I quit, mainly because I ate and drank more. I still didn't regret quitting smoking though! I am losing weight though now. I was actually too thin to be healthy when I smoked as I would smoke instead of eating proper meals sometimes!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on March 31, 2011:

I haven't read your hub, talktofast, but I definitely will do so and yes, you are right, nicotine is more addictive than heroin-- at least that is what an ex smoker who is also a former heroin addict told me. He said that he found it harder to kick cigarettes than heroin. I do know that the same pleasure centers of the brain are involved so it is probably true.

talktofast from England on March 31, 2011:

Thanks robie, have you read my hub tobacco giants stunt your growth? Governments of the world would legalise anything if they thought they could tax it and make it socially acceptable. cigarettes and alcahol are big money makers. Nicotene is more addictive than heroin.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on March 24, 2011:

Well, talktofast-- that's quite a forceful statement for which there are many pros and cons--we tried prohibiting alcohol in the 1920's and it was a disaster and I don't think the " war on drugs" has exactly been a big success either. Thanks for adding your voice here though-- much appreciated.

talktofast from England on March 24, 2011:


Christine Hornsby on February 03, 2011:

Thank you I just read this and it was very helpful I have been quit a little over a month now and I have gained some weight I can feel it. I am 45 and smoked for 26 years I have done so well I am worried about the weight I am glad I read this I think I will increase my activity and not panic over my weight it's to soon. Thanks!!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on July 18, 2010:

Yup-- nicotine does keep you trip, problem is it does a lot of other things too and cigarettes are a rather expensive diet plan :D

iluvceleb on July 18, 2010:

actually i don't smoke but I knew someone who used smoking as alternative way to keep trim figure :D

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on July 18, 2010:

Thanks ripplemaker-- may all your friends manage to quit-- it is soooooo worth it in the long run. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. So good to see you:-)

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on July 18, 2010:

A friend of mine told me this too--gaining weight when she quit smoking. Now I am crossing my fingers that my other dear friend will quit smoking sometime soon! LOL ANd when she worries about gaining weight, I'll forward this to her. Thanks robie!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on July 12, 2010:

and thank yoou Michael Jay, for taking the time to read and comment

Michael Jay on July 12, 2010:

Wow! This is a very good hub about how to quit smoking, robie2. I really liked the way presented all the valuable information and how you added nice images on your hub. Thank you so much for sharing this terrific hub!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on July 05, 2010:

Well, I would say make that 4 or 5 times 5 or 6 times a week and add some weight bearing exercise-- free weights or circuit training or a gym workout. This will build muscle which will up your metabolism. Most of all, don't panic if you gain a few pounds. They will come off and most people don't gain a whole lot. In your case, you already must be in good physical shape.If you add some weight bearing exercise you will be fine-- it really is worth it to be smoke free. Don't be scared:-)

Trinity2306 on July 05, 2010:

I already run 7kms 4 or 5 times a week and teach aerobics two days...I'm terrified that I'm going to gain weight now that I've quit. What else can I do??

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on June 26, 2010:

Thanks KoffeeKlatch-- I gained weight too and also found taking it off harder than putting it on-- but then isn't that always the way it is???Thanks for stopping by

Susan Hazelton from Northern New York on June 26, 2010:

I gained weight when I stopped smoking a few years ago. It was harder to take it off than it was to put it on. Great advice, well written hub.

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on June 23, 2010:

Wow Fucsia-- that is wonderful. You are proof that it is possible to quit smoking and not gain weight. Certainly running or even just plain walking is a ticket to health in so many ways. Congratulations and thanks for sharing your experience here.

fucsia on June 22, 2010:

when I stopped smoking, I lost weight! Indeed I was afraid of gaining weight and therefore I increased my sporting activity (running) .The sport has supported my fight against smoking in many way!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on June 20, 2010:

Actually, it is not horrible advice. A truly addicted smoker cannot concentrate on losing weight and not smoking at the same time. Trying to do so will result in failure at both. I would say keep a food journal and lose some weight before you quit smoking if you wish, but don't try to do both at once and don't freak if after you quit you gain back the weight you lost. Clearly,Cat, you are not a smoker and don't have a clue how hard quitting really is.

You wouldn't tell an anorexic or a bulimic who also had an exercise addiction to stop going to the gym while they got a handle on eating normally would you? It would doom both efforts to failure.

Anyone who would relapse and start smoking again because they gained 10 or 15 pounds has some serious eating disorder issues and body image issues that need to be addressed under separate cover -- it is far healthier to be a bit overweight and smokeless than smoking and thin.

Cat on June 20, 2010:

The advice to eat whatever you want is HORRIBLE!! You can quit AND actually lose weight, by keeping a food journal, reducing your caloric intake by 250 calories a day and working out. So many people go back to smoking because they hate the way they look after they quit, so why NOT focus on overall health, not just quitting, so you never go back? Telling people to eat whatever they want and not worry about it is very bad advice...people will relapse.

De Greek from UK on June 04, 2010:

A truly helpful hub. Well done. The 250 cal difference with the explanation is new to me and very important information

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on June 03, 2010:

Thanks for sharing your personal experience too, Tammy and congratulations on quitting. You reminded me of something important-- I did get depressed and lethargic when I first quit and had no idea that for really heavy smokers, nicotine is an anti depressant.... went to my Dr. who put me on a low dosage of Zoloft which did the trick. It was amazind and seemed to cut my appetite too-- stayed on it for about a year and then went off and was just fine. Thanks for reminding me-- I should go back and put some information about that in the hub. Thanks for reminding me and thanks for sharing:-)

Tammy Lochmann on June 03, 2010:

Great...Thanks for posting this some people don't understand that quitting smoking does decrease your metabolism...I know I have gained at least 26 pounds I even stopped weighing myself until last week when I discovered how much I actually weigh now. Also quitting lowers seratonin which can cause depression and hence no energy and loss of interest...I went through that too but now it's time to get moving and love being smoke free...and I do.

Thanks for posting this I am going to share this one....Tammy

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 31, 2010:

Thanks katiem2.... I'm glad you like the hub and thanks for reading and commenting.

And Dolores-- good idea in principle, and in a way that is what I do suggest, but it isn't quite that easy--It's much easier to become addicted to eating when you quit smoking than it is to become addicted to exercise-- but smoking or not smoking-- if you get used to 30 minutes of cardio every day--and do it for at least three weeks in a row-- you just may become addicted to exercise which can result in its own problems for the truly addictive personality-- but that's another hub for another day.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on May 31, 2010:

robie - since cigarette smoking is an addiction, maybe quitter should get a new addiction such as jogging, fast walking, or running. They'd have a goal, burn off calories, and feel good about themselves! Thumbs up on this one for sure!

Katie McMurray from Ohio on May 31, 2010:

Good and honest report and thankfully with a counter approach. Hope many quit and get fit to boot!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 30, 2010:

Thanks for stopping by ST and for the comment-- always good to see you :-)

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on May 29, 2010:

Super Hub laying out the facts of weight gain post-smoking and the measures folks can take to minimize that gain, as well as the reasons they shouldn't be too concerned if they can't. Plus, the news feeds are totally on spot. Thumbs up, Robie!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 25, 2010:

I think it's a hoot too-- sort of says it all about cravings doesn't it?

lauralolita from Florida on May 25, 2010:

Man, I love that picture of the woman eating spaghetti! That's hilarious!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 24, 2010:

ahhh Ks-- think of all the money we all could have saved not doing lots of things-- water under the bridge, but I am impressed that you never inhaled:-)

and ladyjane1, congrats on having quit. Thanks for sharing that and for reading and commenting.

ladyjane1 from Texas on May 24, 2010:

Great advice and I feel so much better having quit smoking a few years ago. Good advice about weight gain as well. Nice job. Cheers.

KsCharles on May 24, 2010:

Does the fact that I NEVER inhaled count for anything--except to highlight how expensive and addictive smoking is? Think of all the money I would have saved, had I never begun smoking in the first place!

Roberta Kyle (author) from Central New Jersey on May 24, 2010:

HI Alek-- yes the length of time you have smoked and your age when you quit have a lot to do with how much weight you gain and when you are older( as i was when I quit) it is hard to know how much of the weight gain is from smoking and how much just from time marching on-- well, anyway-- glad you stopped by and glad you liked the hub

Nancy Hinchliff from Essex Junction, Vermont on May 24, 2010:

Great hub, Robie...lots of good information. I haven't smoked since I quit at age 18...and I'm not going to tell you how long ago that was. :=) Actually I never weighed over 105 until I was 40, but maybe that's because I was so young when I quit and had only smoked 3 years.