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Smoking Cessation and Weight Gain
by S2H RT Staff

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Many who try to quit cigarettes and didn't, always had this tried and true fall back excuse, "I'm glad I didn't quit because I wouldn't want to gain all that weight when I quit anyway". However, my answer to that objection is always the same. If a smoker can choose between the death and injury rate associated with smoking (and smoking related diseases), or that of a ten pound quit smoking weight gain; the science and health community would gladly recommend the bump in overall body mass, without question.

The plain truth is that some people will put on a few pounds when they quit smoking, and it may be significant for a very small percentage of the smoking population. However, a study evaluated the use of a placebo stop smoking aid and found the participants only had a 3.5 pound weight gain (on average) during the first 30 days of smoking cessation while taking the placebo, in essence, quitting cold turkey. That weight gain would be considered negligible for 99% of would-be smokers who want to quit. In comparison, I put on five pounds during last year's Thanksgiving holiday. And trust me, that had nothing to do with smoking cessation.

Interestingly, those in the study who used more than 9 pieces of nicotine gum per day, had less weight gain during the first 30 days of the quit attempt. The researchers saw a similar effect for those who used the higher 4 mg dose instead of 2 mgs of nicotine gum. So if you're still concerned about smoking cessation and weight gain, don't be. On average the amount of weight gained will be insignificant and if you're using nicotine gum, you may not even add a single pound.

However, if you still remain leery of adding a few extra pounds when you try to quit smoking, then plan out new habits to replace the unhealthy ones. Enroll in an exercise class or begin a walking routine; just get active. Try eating crunchy veggies, like celery or carrots when the cravings hit, instead of junk food and candy. Not only will you be tackling the cravings, but you'll also be addressing the worrisome addition of a few pounds.