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Healthy Weight Center

Will I Gain Weight If I Quit Smoking?

03/11/2009

Question:

Would I gain weight if I quit smoking?

Answer:

The majority of smokers who quit smoking gain weight. Most will gain fewer than 10 pounds, but there is a broad range of weight gain. Postcessation weight gain appears to be caused both by increased caloric intake and by metabolic adjustments. Realize that the weight gain that follows smoking cessation is a negligible health risk compared with the risks of continued smoking. It would take the addition of more than 75 pounds to offset the health benefits which a smoker gains by quitting. There is no "best" method to deal with postcessation weight gain. There is some evidence that nicotine replacement (gum and patch) delays postcessation weight gain. Other suggestions include starting to become more active before you attempt to quit. However, you need to realize that your efforts to prevent weight gain may reduce the effectiveness of your attempt to quit smoking. If you find that this is the case, make smoking your priority and address any weight gain after you have successfully quit smoking.

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Response by:

Margaret C Sweeney, MD
Formerly, Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati