why do people gain weight after they quit smoking

Quitting smoking is one of the hardest habits to break. However, millions of people have been able to do it successfully. Even if you’re having a difficult time giving it up, or if you’d like to give it up, but don’t see how it could be possible, know that there are plenty of people, organizations, and resources willing and able to help you.


The reason it’s so hard to quit smoking is not a lack of willpower or the inability to follow through with a goal. There are actually physiological reasons for it: Cigarettes contain nicotine, and nicotine is highly addictive.

When you inhale while smoking, nicotine reaches your brain in a matter of seconds. When your brain receptors are stimulated by it, they release chemicals that make you feel pleasure. As you continue to smoke, your brain develops more of these receptors. This means that smoking actually changes the structure of your brain. 

The more you smoke, the more nicotine your body needs to feel normal. If you suddenly stop, you experience withdrawal symptoms, which include:

  • Nicotine cravings
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Depression

Therefore, quitting smoking is so difficult because your own brain is working against your desire to stop smoking. As a result, many people go back to smoking simply to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Addictions require a lot more than willpower to quit. To be able to quit smoking successfully, most people need to enlist help, whether by wearing a patch, chewing nicotine gum, avoiding places and events that trigger a desire to smoke, and enlisting professional assistance.

The good news is that as time goes by, the number of receptors in your brain will eventually go back down to the original number you started with, and the nicotine cravings eventually disappear.


There are three main reasons why some people gain weight right after they quit smoking:

  1. Smoking increases your metabolism, so when you quit, it slows down.
  2. You experience an increased appetite.
  3. Some people resort to snacking to distract themselves from nicotine cravings.

That being said, most people who are able to kick the habit, if they do, end up gaining around 10 lbs. The gain is usually temporary, while their body adjusts to not smoking. This is not to say that you shouldn’t worry about it. For some people, any amount of gained weight can be cause for concern. Of course, gaining five to 10 pounds is nothing when compared to the long list of ailments smoking causes, which include many different types of cancers and heart disease.

In order to prevent weight gain, former smokers take up going for walks whenever they get a nicotine craving, attend places where smoking is prohibited, hang out with people who don’t smoke, snack on healthy foods instead of junk food, and increase their water intake.


No matter how diligent you may be in pursuing your weight-loss goals, we all experience plateaus and frustrations. Let us help you with such hurdles. Schedule a free consultation to see how you can lose weight and keep it off. We’ll help you develop a nutritionally balanced lifestyle that’s enjoyable and sustainable. You can fill out our online form or call us at 1-833-SLIMTODAY (1-833-754-6863).