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Researchers at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm looked at 287 women over a 16-week period.

All of the women had tried quitting smoking before, but had caved in over weight concerns.

One group was put on a special diet to keep their weight down and given nicotine gum, while the rest were just given the gum. Both sets attended group meetings for support.

Those on the diet saw their weight fall by an average of 2.1kg over 16 weeks and were more likely to stay off the cigarettes, while the others gained an average of 1.6kg and were more likely to start smoking again.

After a year the diet group were more likely to have stayed off the cigarettes, but there was no significant difference in weight between the two groups.

Publishing their results in the British Medical Journal, the researchers said: "Our study shows that smoking can be stopped for up to one year with acceptable weight control in a group of women selected for their previous weight control problems when attempting to give up smoking."

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An increase in physical activity is an important part of your weight loss program. Physical activity improves your muscle/fat ratio - thus raising metabolism for easier weight loss - and boosts your motivation to maintain the weight you lose.

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