Me in April
                          2014 at 175 lbs! Me at 240
                            lbs in 2011How an Long Time Smoker

Quit Cigs and Lost Weight!

(C) 2016  Steve Williamson

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.

WEIGHT LOSS - Nicotine Patches & Gum Helped me Quit With NO Weight Gain!

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 new 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!

                      Tasting Mint and Cherry Flavored Lozenges
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.

                Lozenges, they helped me so muchThe 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!

he 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’s 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. 

Good Tasting
              Mint and Cherry Flavored Lozenges
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!

Questions & Answers on How I Quit Smoking
Steve's Blood Tests April 2014 -
          2015 were just as good!
What About Nicotine's Side Effects like High Blood Pressure?  I had a heart exam the year before I quit smoking. All appeared normal except for slightly elevated blood pressure which is fairly normal for men my age (I take Lisinopril daily). If you have had any history of heart trouble or high blood pressure be sure to consult with your doctor. Show her this web site. Medical nicotine is a much safer form of nicotine than what's in cigarettes - but it's still a mild stimulant. Check with your doctor.

Also, see this British study by the Royal College of Physicians of London which says, "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 ... To practical purposes, therefore, in comparison with smoking cigarettes, use of medicinal nicotine is extremely safe."

Why Not Quit Cold Turkey?
I tried quitting cold turkey at least 5 times. Each time I went back to smoking weighing more. The longest I was ever completely off cigarettes was one month. I had made it to six months previously using the gum. That is why I tried two methods at once - with both lozenges and patches. I am over 60 and I have smoked for over 42 years. The odds of my relapse are high. T
oday I am on about 25-30% of the nicotine I was consuming when I smoked cigarettes. That's a big drop in my nicotine, and I can always reduce it more.

Can people who Chew use this Method?
YES! This is the perfect method for tobacco chewers!  Lozenges and flavored gum are a much cleaner, better way to get your nicotine fix. Also, most kissing partners would much rather taste a lozenge than tobacco.

What about Chantix and other medications to quit smoking? 
I used Chantix on a previous attempt to quit smoking. I took it for several months and it helped me a lot. I had no ill effects and could have continued using it. But at the time you could not take Chantix for more than a couple of months. After I was taken off Chantix I soon started back smoking, plus I gained a few pounds more!! I have only good things to say about the time I used it. I did not use Chantex this time. I knew the prescription would soon end.

What about E-Cigarettes or “vaping”?  I have not used e-cigs, but these may help many people quit and I would try it if I were ever attempting to quit smoking again. E-cigs were very new when I quit. I fear the smoke/vapor could keep me wanting more to smoke real cigarettes. Plus, vaping probably won't curb the munchies the way that lozenges and gum can. However, it's is very possible that a person could use BOTH vaping and nicotine lozenges/gum - each as replacements for the cigarette, which is so much worse for us.

If I was starting over to quit I would probably use e-cigs.
But I might not have lost weight by vaping and I might not have thought of using gum/lozenges. I would still need to go outside for my nicotine fix rather than reach into my pocket! It's much easier to use lozenges and gum than to leave work for any type of smoke!

We need more research on e-cigs and other, less harmful forms of nicotine than cigarettes. New research suggests e-cigs may have hidden harms. However, medical nicotine products have been studied for decades and found to be safe when used as directed. Sadly, too many people feel it's a choice between ONLY smoking or ONLY vaping or ONLY using nicotine lozenges. Nothing is as bad for us as smoking cigarettes (or obesity), so almost any change is good.

Did you use any Mind-Body Techniques and how did you cope with stress? Yes, to boost my motivation I did positive affirmations and relaxation therapies every night for the first year. The affirmations were about quitting cigarettes, weight loss, exercise and relaxation. I still listen to them to keep my motivation up. For almost 30 years I've listen to Dr. Emmett Miller and Stephen Halpern's music. You can find many of their programs on You Tube. Some might like working with a hypnosis practitioner or try acupuncture.

I have little fear that people will start chewing (or smoking) because of using medical nicotine. The two products are very different - one tastes terrible and one tastes like a cool mint. Today's gum and lozenge taste much better than the old peppery flavor. For the safely of children, they are made with a spicy flavor that kids do not like but most adults can like.

I've used these tips & lost over 50 lbs

1.  I weigh myself each day at the same time - in the morning. My weight fluctuates quickly. Daily weights show me the small changes.

2.  I control cravings between meals and after dinner with nicotine lozenges or gum. Nothing else can suppress the appetite like nicotine gum or lozenges. Gum and lozenges are much better to control food cravings than patches, cigarettes or vaping.

3.  I eat ALMOST WHATEVER I want for breakfast, lunch or dinner - in reasonable portions. For example, I quit buying half gallons of vanilla ice cream because I would eat the carton in three days. This was my habit for years. I still love ice cream but these days I drive and grab a soft- serve ice cream cone -- every day. This keeps me from being deprived and I don't feel like I am "dieting".

4.  I do not eat after dinner until breakfast the next morning - when dieting this includes late night alcohol (which contains sugars).
Nicotine gum makes it easy to avoid eating until the next morning (getting a good night's sleep is also very important). This is also known as "Intermittent Fasting" or simply IF.

I drink very little alcohol, so I don't know it's effects on my method. You could try only drinking with dinner or shortly afterwards, but stop as early as you can.
But, alcohol is an intoxicant and we may be tempted to eat more when we drink (and smoke too!!)

ALSO: Quitnet.com is among the best online support blogs but even they report an "average 5-10 pound" weight gain when people quit using the most popular ways of quitting smoking. Quitnet has been going for over 20 years and has helped thousands of people.

UPDATE! New Research on I.F.
Intermittent Fasting WORKS!

Starting in the summer of 2012 I cut out all nighttime snacks after dinner. I simply do not eat after dinner until the next morning's breakfast, often 12+ hours later. I used to eat a lot of ice cream late at night and I knew I had to quit this bad habit! Read the exciting new research from the prestigious Salk Institute.

Scientists call this "Intermittent Fasting" - giving your body an 12 - 16 hour "fast" between dinner and breakfast. I've been doing this for almost 2 years and am now convinced that simply avoiding eating after dinner is a major factor in my weight loss. Here are several links about this simple, yet scientific way to lose weight and still eat the foods you love - in the daytime.

You don't have to count calories hardly at all!
I try to eat only between about 8-9 am and 6-7 pm (but some researchers say you can vary the time as you need). This makes dieting easier because you can eat mostly whatever you want during the daytime.

It is hard for many people to develop sufficient willpower to resist ALL between meal snacks. But, perhaps people could develop their willpower to resist the cravings for a regular 8-12 hour period only starting after dinner. We could teach people how to use their willpower for a short, defined time like 12 hours.

Check out these links for the the latest research and also look for see the new book called "The IF Diet" published in Jan 2014 by Robert Skinner. It's a very impressive book that collects the most recent information on Intermittent Fasting. I had not heard the term before, but I have been doing it over two years and it works.

See this Great News Release & Video from the Salk Institute

Intermittent Fasting Wikipedia Article

? 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" .

Read Sally Satel's Article in Forbes - Maybe Nicotine Can Help People  http://www.forbes.com/sites/sallysatel/2015/06/19/nicotine-can-save-lives/

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, b
ut 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!

Nicorette Lozenges, helped me so
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.

Non-smokers may read more at my website 

Thank you For Reading this Page
I cannot give any sort of medical advice
But, I would love to hear your story

Steve at about 235
                          in 2012
Me in Feb 2014 about 175quitsmokingandloseweight@gmail.com

(C) 2015  Steve Williamson