This article is from the Stop Smoking FAQ, by firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
By Michael D. Myers, M.D. <email@example.com>, as published on his
homepage. Reused with kind permission.
Smoking and Obesity.
"When people stop smoking, they commonly gain weight. Most people think
that they are substituting food for cigarettes. This is partially correct.
Smoking is usually a different form of oral gratification that obviously
does not involve the consumption of calories. However, smoking does have
another effect - it actually increases caloric requirements. A person who
smokes requires approximately 10% more calories to maintain their body
weight than when they are not smoking. Therefore, if a person maintains
constant food intake and exercise and stops smoking, their body weight is
expected to increase between 5% and 10%.
"An excellent way to help counter this is to exercise consistently. For
example, start walking 30 minutes a day three to four times a week - a very
feasible goal. Another approach is recording your food intake. If you write
down everything you eat before you eat it, you will become much more aware
of what you are eating. This helps you make better food choices, thereby
helping you maintain your weight.
"It is much more important to stop smoking than to worry about weight gain.
The deleterious effects of smoking far outweigh the effects of putting on a
few extra pounds. Some people think that when they stop smoking it is also
a good time to go on a strict diet. This is not recommended because both
are very stressful and it is extremely difficult to do both effectively.
Usually, people do not succeed at either and feel like failures. Remember
that it is important to stop smoking first. Then you can deal with your
weight more effectively.
"Disclaimer Statement: The above information is for general purposes only,
and should not be construed as definitive or binding medical advice.
Because each person is medically different, individuals should see their
personal physicians for specific information and/or treatment. For
comments, please send E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. I do respond to
E-mail. Office Address: MICHAEL D. MYERS, M.D. Inc. 4216 Katella Av. Los
Alamitos, CA (US) 90720 phone: 1-310-493 2266."