Cigarette smoking increases a person's metabolic rate in part by forcing the heart to beat faster. When a cigarette is inhaled, the smoker's heart may beat 10 to 20 times more per minute for a period of time. This causes extra stress on the heart and plays a role in heart disease, the most common cause of smoking-related death.
And think about this: A smoking habit of 20 cigarettes a day puts approximately the same amount of stress on the heart as 90 pounds of extra weight would. When we stop smoking, heart rate slows down somewhat, causing metabolism to dip a bit as well.
While shifts in metabolism, along with dietary changes, can signal a slight weight gain, we can take steps to build our metabolic rate back up in ways that benefit our health rather than destroy it, as smoking does. If weight gain due to smoking cessation is something you fear or is a reality you're struggling with, use the tips below to help you keep your weight stable as you recover from nicotine addiction.