Give Now  »

Noon Edition

Smoking and Weight Gain

Anyone who has quit smoking knows that there is a strong possibility they'll gain weight. One of the really interesting things about the nicotine in cigarettes is that it works in two ways. When you take a long drag, it acts as a tranquilizer, but when you inhale in short puffs, it acts as a stimulant. And one of the side-effects of stimulants is that they suppress the appetite.

No doubt, the relationship between smoking and weight fluctuation is tricky. One of the most successful ad campaigns for cigarettes encouraged women to smoke instead of eat. The fact is, cigarette smokers do weigh less on average than nonsmokers. Research shows that quitting smoking can make you gain between five and twelve pounds.

However, there are things you can do to keep that weight off. Physicians recommend moderate exercise like walking for thirty minutes, three times a week. Not only does exercise help control weight gain, it also helps ease the stressful feelings associated with quitting.

You can also try to limit alcohol and cut down on foods high in fat, but keep in mind that most experts think that it isn't a good idea to go on a strict diet and try to quit smoking at the same time. You should focus on one health challenge at a time.

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science