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Smoking Cessation Health Center

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Quitting Smoking - Topic Overview


Will you gain weight? continued...

You can take steps to lower your chance of gaining weight:

  • Try to be active. Exercise can also improve your mood and reduce your craving for a cigarette.
    • If you haven't been getting much exercise, start walking every day, gradually increasing how far you walk. Or take a beginning yoga class.
    • If you are already active, see about joining others for a sport you enjoy, such as biking, hiking, or playing volleyball.
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and eat fewer high-fat foods. Cutting back on food (dieting) can make quitting smoking harder.
  • Try not to substitute food for cigarettes. Instead, chew on a drinking straw or a coffee stirrer.

Use quit-smoking medicines or nicotine replacement. They may make gaining weight less likely while you are quitting smoking.

What if you start smoking again?

Most people quit and restart many times before they stop smoking for good. If you start smoking again after you quit, don't give up. If you return to smoking, but smoke less than before, try to keep your smoking at that lower level so it will be easier to quit in the future. Also, if you are ready to try to quit again soon, do so. You do not need to wait to try again. Each time you quit, even if it is just for a short time, you get closer to your long-term goal.

Remind yourself that by quitting you may avoid serious health problems and live longer. Remember your reasons for quitting. Maybe you want to protect your heart and your health and live longer.

Each time you quit, you learn more about what helps and what gets in the way. Think about why you started smoking again and about what you will do differently next time. If you tried to quit without medicines or counseling, think about trying them next time. If you did use a medicine and counseling, think about trying a different type next time. Medicines and nicotine replacement (gum, patches, lozenges) can double your chances of success.1 And using medicines and counseling is even more effective. You can do it!

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