Quitting Smoking Leads to Weight Gain?


| 6 Comments

            The recent class about smoking led me to think about the reasons people keep smoking even though there is clear evidence that it is devastating to the body. Having three aunts who quit smoking, I became very familiar with the excuse, "I can't quit because I'll gain weight." They are not alone, for decades many people have refused to quit smoking or have even started smoking in order to control their weight. The cigarette brand Virginia Slims was even established appeal to women who wanted to control their weight. Although the health impact of smoking is far worse than gaining weight, this classic excuse and reason is actually true.

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            Smokers often weigh less than non-smokers due to different eating habits. Smoking depresses the smoker's appetite for some foods, leading them to eat less. Additionally, smoking can serve as a substitute habit for eating, rather than snacking many smokers will simply have a cigarette. Research has shown that smokers often feel fuller than non-smokers because nicotine leads food to stay in than smoker's stomach longer than the average non-smoker. More tentative studies even hint that there may even be a correlation with smoking and higher metabolisms. Not always apparent to the unobserving smoker, smoking has huge impact on food consumption.

            Even though quitting smoking may lead to  weight gain, there are ways for the quitter to minimize the impact of quitting by controlling their lifestyle. Starting a regular exercise routine and beginning a healthier diet before quitting allows the ex-smoker to retain at least some control of their weight. Doing this allows the smoker to begin a healthier lifestyle promoting weight-loss before they quit, allowing them to solely focus on quitting smoking once they choose to quit. 

           Although smoking does correlate with lower weights and quitting often leads to weight gain, the smoker should choose their health over their body image. 

         For more information on smoking's impact on weight and techniques of weight control vist the Smoking Cessation article, "Dealing with Weight Gain."

6 Comments

My mom has been smoking the majority of her life. She had to stop because of a surgery she was getting and it wasn't safe for the recovery to be smoking. Once she was fully recovered and back to good health, I assumed she would continue to be smoke free. She was for a while, but gained 20 pounds in a month span. She said that quitting cigarettes is what caused the weight gain and started the habit again. Within a short amount of time smoking again, the weight she gained feel right off of her. I thought it was just an excuse to smoke again, but I guess not smoking really can cause weight gain. Thanks for the information!

My best friend has been smoking for a while now and i keep on trying to convince her to quit. She is extremely thin and i think that smoking will help her get a more normal diet and a better exercise routine. She wants to gain weight because her body is very unhealthy, and of course the smoking doesn't help that. I found this article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/10/quit-smoking-weight_n_874680.html) on the huffington post website and it says that the weight gain isn't huge, usually about 10 pounds, but smokers use it as an excuse not to quit. The correlation between weight gain and quitting smoking is quite interesting! Good article!

wow this is a great blog! I had a counselor in camp who used to smoke and she gained about 40 pounds once she stopped smoking. She was unrecognizable when she came back to camp a year later. this is an article about teens who smoke to lose weight. http://technorati.com/women/article/teens-losing-weight-use-wrong-headed/
awesome blog

Many people who quit smoking and start to gain weight think that it is a good excuse to start again. Obviously, gaining too much weight can lead to serious health problems as well, but if someone really wants to quit smoking and starts to gain weight, they can start an exercise class or get a personal nutritionist or something! It would be so worth the time and money, because smoking can cause such serious life long problems.

Hi Daniel! This article is really useful for my own knowledge to tell some of my friends too. Throughout my High School life, I never smoke. Okay, I tried once and that's it...done. I hate the smell of it and after realizing how bad cigarettes can literally "kill" your body...I even hate it more. This is true, I heard many people who have claimed that smoking can actually help you lose weight. However, as far as I'm concern...losing weight in this sense is the worst excuse I've heard. Like you mentioned, there are SO MANY alternatives to lose weight. People who smoke tend to look "unhealthy" in the long term too. A lot of my guy friends do smoke and I really want them all to quit, but I know for those who are addicted to smoking...it must be really hard to do so. My suggestion for those people who want to quit, first thing first, they must have this determination to accomplish this. Once that determination arrives, everything will be easier later on! :) great interesting article!

Like you said in your blog there are much healthier ways to maintain weight. Going to the gym releases endorphins making you feel better naturally. I think the suggestion that a person will gain weight if they quit smoking is an excuse for smokers. The real reason they don't want to quit is because they like smoking, they're addicted. Maybe the weight gain is in the back of their mind, but honestly they just don't want to quit, or don't think they can so they don't try for the fear of failure. Saying "I really want to quit but can't because I'll gain weight" is not a reasonable excuse. I wonder if studies done proving that smokers were skinnier than non-smokers and that smoking causes weight loss or the reverse that quitting caused weight gain was done by cigarette companies. It's possible, if you went deeper and found who did the research, that the studies were funded or found by cigarette companies.

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