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Weight Gain After You Quit Smoking
Advice About Weight Control After Quitting Cigarettes
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How to Avoid Gaining Weight After You Quit Smoking

Weight Gain/Loss After Smoking

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Will I Gain Weight if I Quit Smoking?

Not necessarily. Not everyone gains weight when they stop smoking. On average, people who quit smoking gain only about 10 pounds.

You can control your weight while you quit smoking by making healthy eating and physical activity a part of your life. Although you might gain a few pounds, don't forget that you have quit smoking and taken a big step toward a healthier life.

What Causes Weight Gain After Quitting?

When smokers quit, they may gain weight for a number of reasons. These include:

Feeling hungry. Quitting smoking may make a person feel hungrier than usual. This feeling usually goes away after several weeks.

Having more snacks and alcoholic drinks. Some people eat more high-fat, high-sugar snacks and drink more alcoholic beverages after they quit smoking.

Burning calories at normal rate again. Smoking cigarettes makes the body burn calories faster.

After quitting smoking, the body’s normal rate of burning calories returns. When calories are burned more slowly again, weight gain may take place.

10 Pounds Weight Gain Won't Harm Your Health

The health risks of smoking are far greater than the risks of gaining even 20 pounds. Smoking causes more than 400,000 deaths each year in the United States. You would have to gain about 100 to 150 pounds after quitting to make your health risks as high as when you smoked.

How to Reduce Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking

Get regular moderate-intensity physical activity Regular physical activity may help you avoid large weight gains when you quit smoking. It may help you look and feel good, and fit into your clothes better. You will likely find that you can breathe easier during physical activity after you quit smoking.

Try to get 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week, preferably every day. The ideas below may help you to be active every day.

Diet Advice After Quitting Smoking

Having more high-fat, high-sugar snacks and alcoholic drinks may lead to large weight gains when you quit smoking. The ideas below may help you make healthy eating and drinking choices as you quit smoking.

  • Do not go too long without eating. Being very hungry can lead to less healthy food choices.
  • Eat enough at meal times to satisfy you.
  • Choose healthy snacks, such as fresh fruit or canned fruit packed in juice (not syrup), air-popped popcorn, or fat-free yogurt, when you are hungry between meals.
  • Do not deny yourself an occasional ”treat.“ If you crave ice cream, enjoy a small cone.
  • Choose an herbal tea, hot cocoa made with nonfat milk, or sparkling water instead of an alcoholic beverage.


For more information on quitting smoking, contact:

American Cancer Society

American Lung Association

National Cancer Institute

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