Why You Gain Weight After You Quit Smoking

Why You Gain Weight After You Quit Smoking

22 Sep 22

People often worry about gaining weight when they decide to quit smoking. It is important to recognize that while gaining some weight when you first quit is common, many people are able to lose this weight over time.

While a small gain is normal, it may also erode your determination to stay off cigarettes. Finding ways to cope with weight gain can help you stick to your goals in the long term.

This article discusses what you can do to keep your weight under control as you go through the process of recovery from nicotine addiction. It also covers steps you can take to avoid letting weight gain derail your motivation and commitment to quitting smoking.

Why You Gain Weight When You Quit Smoking

There are a number of factors that contribute to weight gain after you quit smoking. First, smoking does have a slight impact on metabolism. Heavy smoking can cause a person to burn up to 200 more calories per day, which leads to a small increase in overall metabolism.

Research also suggests that giving up cigarettes causes the brain to seek out a replacement for nicotine. Specifically, it causes increased cravings for foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar. According to research, this compensatory behavior and subsequent weight gain play a part in people returning to cigarettes.

Why You Want to Eat More

Smoking cessation throws our bodies into shock. Increased appetite is a side effect of quitting tobacco for most people. Some of the reasons why you might find yourself wanting to eat more after you quit smoking include the following.

Cigarettes Are an Appetite Suppressant

People who smoke often avoid between-meal snacking by smoking. Nicotine is a stimulant, and may also interfere with the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin controls glucose levels in the blood. When this function is blocked, a person will become slightly hyperglycemic, and as a result, the body and brain may slow down the hormones and other signals that trigger feelings of hunger.

Food Acts as a Replacement for Smoking

Early on in a person's quit journey, the urge to smoke is frequent and uncomfortable. Many people feel the loss of the hand-to-mouth action of smoking acutely, and food often seems like a reasonable replacement. This can lead to overeating and weight gain though, so it's better to find a healthier substitute for smoking.

Dopamine Affects the Urge to Snack

Nicotine and food share a common chemical reaction in our brains: the release of dopamine. Dopamine is called the "feel good" hormone because it creates a sense of well-being. When nicotine is no longer in the picture, people often turn to food for that boost.

The emotional comfort food gives us is a result of this chemical reaction in the brain. Exercise also releases dopamine, so consider getting active as a way of improving your mood and minimizing cravings. It will have the added benefit of helping you to speed up a sluggish metabolism and avoid weight gain as well—a win every way you look at it.

Staying Motivated to Quit

Research has found that weight gain that accompanies smoking cessation can undermine attempts and success in quitting. People who are already overweight, in particular, are more likely to gain weight and have more weight concerns related to quitting smoking.

If you are struggling to stay motivated to quit because of weight gain, there are some things you can do to help stay inspired. Remind yourself about some of the many benefits of quitting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), quitting smoking:

  • Improves your quality of life
  • Reduces your risk of premature death
  • Lowers your risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and COPD
  • Reduces the financial burdens of smoking

Smoking can also be beneficial for your mental well-being. Research suggests that quitting smoking is associated with a variety of mental health benefits including higher overall quality of life as well as decreased stress, anxiety, and depression.

Coping With Weight Gain

People who quit smoking often decide it's time to clean their lives up in other areas as well. That's great, but be careful. If you try to do too many self-improvement projects at once, you run the risk of not giving the most important ones the time and effort they need.

There are things that you can to do help stay motivated to quit smoking and cope with weight gain. Some steps you can take include:

  • Be good to yourself. Quitting tobacco is a huge accomplishment, and you should reward yourself for your progress often. Don't underestimate the magnitude of what you are doing.
  • Be patient. Quitting smoking is a process that takes time. It doesn't happen overnight, but in comparison to the number of years most people smoke before quitting, recovery from nicotine addiction is short. Give yourself the time you need to heal.
  • Accept yourself. Practicing self-acceptance can be an important tool as you deal with the challenges of quitting smoking. You are a wonderful person just as you are right now.
  • Change your mindset. Developing a new mindset that views challenges as learning opportunities can be helpful. Instead of seeing quitting smoking as losing something, you'll start to view this process as a way of gaining health.
  • Practice self-care. Make sure you aren't replacing smoking with other unhealthy habits. Instead, work on developing a self-care "toolkit" made up of things you can do when you are dealing with cravings. You might go for a walk, talk to a friend, or try out a hobby as a way to distract yourself.
  • Find social support. Having supportive people in your life can help you stay motivated as you work toward your goals. Share your intentions and struggles with a trusted friend, or consider joining a support group devoted to smoking cessation. Talking to other people who are going through the same thing as you can be helpful.

A Word From Verywell

If you gain a few pounds while going through the process of quitting tobacco, so be it. The benefits of quitting will affect your life as well as those who love you in more positive ways than you can imagine.

You can quit smoking without gaining a lot of weight. Don't let the fear of weight gain stop you from giving up cigarettes. A little weight gain now is not enough to negate the benefits of giving up cigarettes.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.


We at Smokegem aim to be the best and most convenient online smoke shop to provide the best smoke shop products and services. We believe in customer satisfaction and long term relationship which we have been providing for last 5 years. We are one stop shop for your smoke shop needs with variety of products. With us, you will always find newest products in the market. Also, we strive to provide best customer service, fast and free domestic shipping and rewards for our returning customers. All in all, your satisfaction is our business.



    Newsletter Signup

    Sign up for our e-mail and be the first who know our special offers! Furthermore, we will give a 15% discount on the next order after you sign up.

    • Free Shipping

      Enjoy Free Shipping on all USorders above $35.

    • Support 24/7

      Contact us via email 24 hoursa day, 7 days a week)

    • Eatn Rewards

      Earn rewards when you sign up, leaveproduct feedbacks, on birthday, & withevery purchase.

    • Return 30 days

      Simply return the unused item within30 days for an exchange