How to Quit Smoking AND Lose Weight!
If you or someone you loves smokes cigarettes, PLEASE show them this web page.
I have stumbled upon a fairly easy way to do what seems impossible – quit smoking and lose weight.
You can see before and after photos of me from 240 lbs down to 215. It’s my own research (and body).
The Back Story
There are many people who put off quitting cigarettes because of weight gain. I have not had a cigarette in over four years, I’ve lost over 50 pounds and kept it all off!
In April 2012 I was a physical mess. I was 60 years old and overweight at 235-240 pounds. I had smoked for 42 years and had severe sleep apnea. I also used a cane to walk. I was going downhill…
Then, In 2012 my neurologist did me a huge favor and convinced me to quit cigarettes (or else he would fire me.) Now it is April 2016 and I weigh a healthy 175-180 pounds! Believe it or not, I lost over 50 pounds in the year I quit smoking with this method. Now, I have kept it off for three years mostly by nicotine gum, lozenges, sensible eating and moderate exercise. My story may sound unbelievable but is backed by medical reports from respected doctors.
I haven’t had a cigarette in over 4 years; my balance is much better and I no longer need a cane to walk! Nor do I have sleep apnea anymore. All my medical tests have vastly improved! My weight is tracked every two weeks by my long-time and much appreciated family physician. People who know me are amazed at how well I look today after losing 10 inches off my belly (size 44 down to size 34). I can even dance again!
This page is not a substitute for medical care. Consult your health care providers before beginning any new program.
Chart covers April 2012 to Fall 2015
Update: October 2016 My Weight has held Between 175-180 for 3 1/2 Years
British Royal Society for Public Health Says:
Nicotine is “No more dangerous than coffee”!
A report from the British Royal Society for Public Health has found one myth about the dangers of smoking has endured for decades. The research suggests nine out of 10 people falsely believe nicotine is very harmful to their heath, when in fact it is no more dangerous than the caffeine in a cup of coffee.
The British report promotes the wider use of NRTs like nicotine gum and lozenges to fight cigarette smoking. It is further proof that medical nicotine is vastly different from tobacco nicotine. The report says that 9 out of 10 people wrongly believe nicotine is much more harmful than it really is!
Harm Reduction and How I Quit Cigarettes
Using HR for Weight Loss
The support of my excellent doctors also has a lot to do with my success. Please talk to your own care providers, show them this website and the research links. I would not have been able to quit cigarettes without NRTs (Nicotine Replacement Therapies).
I cannot say enough good things about the nicotine patch, lozenges and gum. Today’s gum and lozenges taste much, much better than the old peppery gum they had years ago. The new mint and cherry flavors are great tasting! They are still tangy – too keep children from thinking they are candy. The spicy taste does not appeal to kids but most adults can like it.
Medical nicotine is very different from tobacco and cigarettes. In Sept 2013 the US Food and Drug Administration said: After 20 years of testing and more than 117 trials with over 50,000 smokers, “NRT aids do not have significant potential for abuse or dependence”.
Read NEW FDA Guidelines for Nicotine Lozenges, Sept 2013!
It is now easier to quit than ever before with the new FDA rules!
Which is Really Worse? Medical Nicotine or Obesity?
Despite all the weight loss shows, diet gurus & gyms people are still gaining weight. People lose weight and then regain it back in a depressing cycle of dieting.
Medical nicotine seems no worse than expensive methods such as surgery, pills and extreme diets. Nicotine may not be the ideal appetite suppressant but it works until something better is invented. Nicotine boosts your willpower.
NPR: How Nicotine Curbs Food Cravings
Nothing works better than Nicotine
To quit cigarettes I used BOTH nicotine patches and nicotine lozenges. I continue to use gum and lozenges today with my doctor’s support. This is now approved by the FDA. New federal guidelines in Sept 2013 allow users to use two nicotine products at the same time. It’s harder to quit today than it used to be and the products are safe.
This method is often called “Harm Reduction” by scientists. The idea behind Harm Reduction is simple – nothing is as bad for us as cigarette smoking. Anything we can do to get off tobacco is good simply because nothing is as harmful as cigarettes. Relapse rates are very high with cigarettes. The idea of HR can also be applied to weight loss. Here is an excellent link from respected researchers on tobacco and harm reduction.
The FDA’s Sept 2013 guidelines also allow users to continue using nicotine replacements as long as you and your doctor feel necessary. Nicotine products no longer require a prescription and can be purchased at most grocery stores. The FDA said that years of testing NRTs like nicotine patches and lozenges has found very few harmful effects! They have been tested for over 20 years with over 50,000 smokers. It’s the tar and additives that kill – not the nicotine!
The relapse rate for smokers like me is over 80%. I will likely never be nicotine free, but I can be cigarette free! Nicotine patches and lozenges are much better for you. If I can quit with patches and lozenges ANYONE can. I’ve been cig free for 2+ years and I use about 6-8 lozenges a day.
Lozenges are made in 2mg and 4mg tablets. They dissolve slowly in your mouth and are great after meals and for quick cravings. They also make your breath smell a LOT better than it used to with cigarettes (or chew). Lozenges and gum both come in cool flavors like mint, cherry and orange that taste much, much better than the old gum. We could develop lozenges without nicotine that will also suppress the appetite. Having a long lasting lozenge has been vital to beating the cravings for cigarettes, food and for losing weight.
Critics may charge that this method keeps me addicted to pharmaceutical nicotine. That may be true, but long term smokers have relapse rates of 80%. It’s a pipe dream to think I can be completely “nicotine free” after smoking 42 years. Today I am on FAR less nicotine today than I was when I smoked – about 60-70% less — and medical nicotine is much safer than nicotine from cigarettes. I smoked almost two packs of cigarettes a day for over 40 years. If I reduce the nicotine content down by 70% that is good enough for me right now. I can always cut back more later. I’ll be happy if I just never smoke another cigarette!
Believe it or not, medical nicotine may even have positive health benefits! Perhaps it’s the hundreds of other additives the cigarette manufacturers add to tobacco that change nicotine from the beneficial medicine Native Americans used into a killer today. Medical nicotine is much cleaner than what’s used by cigarette companies.
I also have another webpage on nicotine – using it as an appetite suppressant. Is obesity or nicotine a bigger danger to us? This is a question we should be asking. If you are interested in nicotine and weight loss please see my other page. It has much the same info as this site, but it’s for non-smokers.
Read my Questions and Answers on How I Quit Smoking
Click here to read further about my experiences and research about quitting smoking.
Tobacco Companies RAISED Nicotine! Making It Harder for Smokers to Quit!!
I had tried the NRT patches and gum in the past and followed the directions on the package. However, they never seemed to work like they were supposed to and like many smokers I lost faith in NRTs. Recently I discovered one reason why they may not work as well as they should ….
According to Dr. Daniel Seidman of Columbia Medical Center “today’s cigarettes are not the same ones your mother or father smoked”. Today’s cigarettes are actually STRONGER, MORE ADDICTIVE AND HARDER TO QUIT than cigarettes a few years ago (see Dr. Seidman’s great blog on Smoking Cession here).
Dr. Seidman is a top researchers on smoking. He recommends the same quit method that worked for me: “With cigarettes delivering a stronger dose of nicotine, consider using two forms of NRT. The combined NRT approach not only delivers nicotine more aggressively to replace that from cigarettes, the U.S public Health Service 2008 update (8) found this to be the best of the medical options available for helping smokers quit”.
I had tried using either patches or lozenges to quit cigarette smoking, but using just one method never worked for me. When I used BOTH a patch and a lozenge then, I finally got results! I did not want a cigarette and my energy level did not crash. The old doses on the packaging were simply not enough to keep up with the increase in nicotine in cigarettes. It may be hard for you to believe, but the tobacco companies have been making their cigs MORE ADDICTIVE to keep smokers hooked.
Nicotine is a mild stimulant and most people have big drops in their energy levels after quitting cigarettes, but this method keeps my energy up! Also, I thought I would gain weight, like always before. But, nicotine lozenges and gum are terrific appetite suppressants.
With a lozenge in my mouth I am simply not hungry between meals. I don’t believe using a patch alone would work for appetite control.
Believe it or Not, Today’s Cigs are MORE Addictive than 20 years Ago
- Quit smoking blogs are full of angry NRT users. Smokers claim they don’t work & many scientists agree.
- The reason why NRTs don’t work is because Big Tobacco raised the nicotine levels!
- This is why smokers get discouraged – the old doses are too low to curb cravings.
- Research shows today’s cigarettes are more addictive than in the past!
How Much Do NRTs COST?
One big reason to quit cigarettes is because they cost so much, over $6.00 a pack now. All smokers would like to save money. Unfortunately, quitting is not cheap either. Sure, you could go “cold turkey” and simply quit all nicotine – but the odds are 80% you will fail and soon go back to smoking – weighing more. But both the U.S. FDA and the British Royal College of Physicians have concluded that medical nicotine is nowhere near as addictive as tobacco.
The biggest financial cost with my method is in the first few months – when was using both patches and lozenges every day. After six months I began to cut the patches in half, which still kept a low-steady dose in my blood stream. I continued to use lozenges for cravings (at first about 10-15 a day). Like cigarettes, you have to be at least 18 years old in most places to purchase nicotine replacement therapies.
I still keep a few patches around for emergencies. Before I go to the store and buy cigarettes I will reach into my medicine cabinet for a patch – or more lozenges. I keep NRTs close to me, and I try to keep cigarettes far, far away. When I quit I was doing it because my doctor said I had to – now it’s because I want to stay cigarette free!
The costs of cigarettes in money, respect and health make cigs a losing proposition. Many employers won’t hire a smoker and it’s impossible to mask the odor of cigarettes on clothes. Today my clothes are fine, my breath smells great and I can freely walk anywhere! Is that worth the cost of NRTs? YES! YES! YES!
Can Nicotine HELP People?
Nicotine is being studied for use in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer Patients!
We know that nicotine is the most effective appetite suppressant on the planet but nicotine may have other medical uses such as with people with cognitive disorders. Here is a brilliant new article in Forbes by Sally Satel, a well respected journalist on medical research and ethical issues.
Sally Satel also links to a recent study by the British Royal College of Physicians of London which studied nicotine, smoking and NRTs. On page 270 the Royal College of Physicians write: “The safety record of medicinal nicotine products is extremely good. Although it is unlikely that medicinal nicotine (or any drug) is completely safe, there is no evidence that medicinal nicotine is carcinogenic, or that, in practice, its use increases appreciably the risk of acute cardiovascular events, or indeed that nicotine itself is responsible for much if any of the harm caused by cigarette smoking” .
Research Needed on Nicotine & Weight
At first we did not know what was causing my weight loss when I quit smoking. Most doctors have forgotten what many teenagers know – that nicotine is an appetite suppressant! We did multiple tests in late 2012 and early 2013 when the weight loss passed 25 pounds and then a few months later, after I had lost over 50 pounds. But, everything looked very good – better than they had in years.
My doctors and their staff could not explain the weight loss. They kept telling me not to worry, but I had never even heard of anyone who lost 50+ pounds in the same year he quits cigarette smoking without having cancer. It was an unbelievable transformation for an overweight smoker of 42 years that none of them had ever seen.
Nothing physical, metaphysical or psychological seemed to explain the weight loss. But, perhaps if we had been in Europe we would have known it from the Nicorette company’s own advertising! I was using nicotine lozenges and they were suppressing my appetite. In hindsight it’s funny now none of us well educated men and women thought to look for the simplest explanation – the nicotine lozenge I had in my mouth!
I want to emphasize again, that I did not do any special diet, nor did I do any hard exercise. I did do a lot of positive thinking and affirmations, but when I quit smoking I completely accepted that I would GAIN weight. Unplanned losing weight for a smoker is a scary thing. We think it must be CANCER – and often it is. I was eating my usual diet at mealtimes but I had quit eating between meals almost without realizing it. I just kept a lozenge in my mouth and did not even think about food or cigarettes. It works that fast and that well!
I could not have avoided the hunger pangs without nicotine lozenges or gum. No other lozenge I know of has this effect. We need research for a nicotine-free lozenge that curbs the appetite. Science can do this – if we demand it. It’s clear from ex-smokers in Europe that you can avoid gaining weight when you quit smoking using the lozenges, gum and patches. This will allow you to avoid snacking in the evening after dinner!
Critics may charge that this method keeps me addicted to pharmaceutical nicotine. That’s true. But, long time smokers like me have relapse rates over 80%. My original goal was to quit cigarettes. All my medical tests have vastly improved. I smoked for over 40 years, it’s not likely I will ever be nicotine free, but I can be cigarette smoke free. That’s good enough for me, my family and my doctors. I am using far less nicotine now than I was when I smoked cigarettes and medical nicotine is much cleaner than tobacco nicotine.
Also, radical as it sounds, pharmacological nicotine may have positive health benefits. Perhaps it’s the hundreds of other additives the cigarette manufacturers add to tobacco that change it from the beneficial medicine that First Nations people used into the world’s biggest legal killer today. Medical nicotine has been studied by for over 20 years and found not to be significantly harmful (compared to cigarettes). Given how harmful obesity we should also be asking if nicotine could help with weight loss too.