Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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News Release

Weight gain not automatic when you quit smoking

Feb 14, 2011
If you are one of the thousands of Ontario residents who are thinking about quitting smoking this year, fear of gaining weight shouldn’t keep you from reaching your smoke-free goal.

If you are one of the thousands of Ontario residents who are thinking about quitting smoking this year, fear of gaining weight shouldn’t keep you from reaching your smoke-free goal.

Quitting doesn’t automatically mean you’ll gain weight. With a little planning you can keep your weight under control. But even if you do gain a few pounds, you'll soon feel so much better that it won't be as much effort to get active and get rid of it.

When people gain weight it’s usually because they replace cigarettes with food or try to fight the nicotine urge with snacks. Knowing that you will be tempted to feed your urges to smoke, there’s plenty you can do.

  • Drink lots of water - Not only will it help you flush the nicotine and other chemicals out of the system but it also satisfies the oral craving for a while. It's healthy to drink six to eight glasses of fluids a day and water is the best choice because it has no calories.
  • Get up from the table - If a cigarette at the end of a meal signals a meal is over, you need to change your routine. After the meal is finished get up from the table and work on a hobby or read. Sitting at the table will only encourage you to pick at food.
  • Be wary of alcohol and coffee - They are often associated with smoking. Using alcohol can reduce your willpower to stay smoke free. Caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and colas can also make you feel anxious. Cut down on these until you are confident and comfortable being smoke free.
  • Follow Canada’s Food Guide - Keep a supply of healthy munchies like veggies handy. Eat dark green and orange vegetables every day. Make at least half of your grain choices whole grain and limit foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar and salt.
  • Get active – Physical activity is a great way to get your mind off smoking and eating. Increase the activity in your day by walking more, taking stairs instead of elevators and go to the gym, the local rink or strap on your skis or snowshoes and go. Soon after you stop smoking you'll find it easier to breathe and that's a great incentive to keep it up.

The Driven to Quit Challenge is a great reason to set your quit date for no later than February 28. When you stay smoke-free for the month of March you have a chance to win a 2011 Honda hybrid or a $5,000 vacation getaway. Register for the challenge online at or call Your Health Connection weekdays 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.


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Tips for quitting successfully

  • Believe you can do it! Picture yourself tobacco free. Tell your friends and family why quitting is important to you and ask for their support.
  • Change your habits. Don’t set yourself up for a craving. If you think of cigarettes with coffee, change to other drinks. Get up as soon as dinner is done and go for a walk. Chew gum instead of tobacco. 
  • Set a quit date. Take steps and prepare gradually. Start by delaying the first cigarette of the day, then the amount you smoke each day.
  • Ask for help. Stop smoking medications are available that can help with cravings. Talk to your healthcare provider and don’t forget you can call Smokers’ Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 for support. 
  • Get active. Be prepared to handle cravings by getting active. Go for a walk, play a game of hockey in the driveway, go to the gym, anything to stay busy. You’ll feel better each day you are tobacco free.
  • Don’t quit trying. Quitting often takes a few attempts. The secret to quitting is don’t quit trying until you succeed. 
  • Register for the DTQ quit challenge before Feb. 28 to qualify for a chance to win a new car or great prize when you stay tobacco-free for the month of March. Enter online at


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