Is Weight Gain with Smoking Cessation Myth or Fact?

The validity of the concept of weight gain after giving up tobacco is always questioned. Being tobacco free is the best possible step one can take towards a healthier tomorrow. Some smokers are tentative to quit on the fear they may gain a few extra pounds.
Many individuals initially show a 4 -10 pound weight gain with giving up smoking.


Reasons for the Weight Gain

  • Smoking reduces the sense of smell. This impaired sense of smell makes one eat less. This is because smell and taste are two sensory faculties which are interrelated.
  • Smoking destroys taste buds. The tobacco generally causes harm to the mucous lining of the oral cavity. Increased amounts of ulcers in the mouth are associated with smoking. Thus food can never be tasted optimally in this condition. So smokers tend to enjoy their meals a little less than non- smokers.
  • Nicotine is known to increase the metabolic rate by 10 %. Studies show that nicotine as found in tobacco and other products (nicotine patches and gum) when coupled with caffeine can help reduce weight. However, a weight loss plan backed by proper diet and exercise is always recommended.
  • Smoking reduces emotional eating to a large extent. Emotional eating is associated with mental distress, trauma and mood disorders. Increased cravings and appetite is known to be associated with emotional comforting. People who smoke often prefer turning to cigarettes rather than food in such situations. Hence compulsive eating induced obesity is seldom seen in smokers.


Weight Gain after cessation should not deter any effort to kick away the addiction. Smoking is one of the leading causes of cancer. A little weight gain can be handled with additional focus on proper diet, portion control, exercise and most importantly with a support circle.


Richard D. Hurt, M.D; Is weight gain inevitable after you quit smoking? What causes it?; Mayoclinic.com;

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