Nutrition and Physical Activity

Quitting Smoking And Weight Gain

You may have heard horror stories of people gaining a lot of weight after quitting smoking.

Some people do gain a few pounds, but not everyone gains weight and most lose it again after six months. Taking small steps towards eating well and being physically active can prevent weight gain when quitting smoking. Remember: if you do gain weight, you are still far healthier than if you were smoking.

Weight Control After Quitting

About 80% of people who quit smoking gain weight at first and most lose weight over time with no special action.

Here are a few things you can do to reduce the chances of gaining weight after quitting:

  1. Make “not-smoking” your number one goal.
  2. Check your weight: weigh yourself at least once a week.
  3. Know what you are eating.
  4. Eat well-balanced meals.
  5. Do not eat more than you use in calories.
  6. Limit snacks.
  7. Avoid sweets.
  8. When you eat out, eat wisely.
  9. Eat slowly and put your fork down between bites.
  10. Exercise regularly

Nutrition Survival Kit

When you’re quitting smoking, you may miss having something in your hands. Instead of a cigarette, keep these healthier options around.

  • Crunchy veggies like carrots, celery or cucumber
  • Fresh fruit
  • Water
  • Air-popped popcorn (just watch the amount of butter and salt!)
  • Pretzels
  • Sugar-free mints or gum
  • Mint toothpicks
  • Drink beverages from a straw


Tobacco Research and Intervention Program (H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute) University of South Florida. Forever Free. A Guide To Remaining Smoke Free. Available at: Public Health (n.d.).

Algoma Public Health. Nutrition Tips for quitting smoking without gaining weight. Available at: