Stopping Smoking and Weight Gain

Blog Post created by dr_hurt on Jul 22, 2011

Many people are concerned about gaining weight when stopping smoking.  On average people do gain about 10 pounds when they stop.  However weight gain will be different for each individual and some people stop smoking without gaining weight.

Basically, weight gain occurs because a person expends fewer calories, and/or because they take in more calories.  When a person stops smoking they also lose the appetite suppressant effect of tobacco.  There also might be a tendency to eat more after stopping as food simply tastes better. 

If weight gain after stopping smoking is a concern, increasing activity and paying attention to diet can help reduce or eliminate weight gain.  Increasing exercise or physical activity will not only help to reduce weight gain but exercise can also help reduce withdrawal symptoms and craving for cigarettes.  A person who is stopping smoking should plan to eat smaller portions and to eat food that is less calorie dense.  Quitting Stopping smoking might provide an opportunity to make a number of enjoyable and healthier life-style changes.

Medication can also help limit weight gain when a person stops smoking.  Nicotine replacement in higher doses is known to delay weight gain and bupropion is a medication that helps people stop smoking and helps to lessen weight gain when taken long enough.  A healthcare provider can help to select the best options.  People stopping smoking can also benefit from talking with a Tobacco Treatment Specialist either in person or using the telephone at 1800-QuitNow.  The Specialist can help develop an effective plan to address concerns about weight gain.

Additional information about stopping smoking and minimizing weight gain can be found here on the EX site at http://www.becomeanex.org/keeping-the-weight-off.php.

Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org