Quit Tobacco Series Fact Sheet #15: Weight


Congratulations on your decision to quit using tobacco! Call 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) for free help with quitting tobacco.


Who gains weight, why, and how can I avoid it?

  • The average person who quits tobacco gains between 4 and 10 pounds.
  • However, avoiding high-calorie drinks and exercising can prevent weight gain. Some even lose weight after quitting smoking.

Focus on quitting and getting healthy, rather than weight

  • Make quitting priority one. The best thing you can do for your health is to quit tobacco.
  • Get fit. Replace tobacco with exercise.
  • Stay positive. Every cigarette you don’t smoke improves your health. The less you smoke, the more you can exercise.

Strategies to help you stay quit will also help you maintain a healthy weight

  • Retrain your mind. When you feel an urge, take a deep breath. Sip water. Cravings will pass.
  • Stay physically active.

Consider using medication

Talk to your doctor about medications—such as bupropion SR, nicotine gum or nicotine lozenge—to help you quit. These medications have been shown to delay or limit weight gain after quitting.


Change Your Routines

  • Keep your hands and mouth busy. Try toothpicks, straws, pencils, or gum.
  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially water. Limit coffee, soft drinks and alcohol—they can increase your urges.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get more sleep.
  • Don’t skip meals. Research shows your metabolism improves with regular meals. Eat slowly. Enjoy it.
  • Try relaxation techniques. Breathe deeply. Stretch. Do yoga.
  • Reward yourself every day or week that you stay quit. Don’t use food or drink as a reward.
  • Consider getting professional help for weight control.

Call 800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8669) for free help with quitting tobacco.