BACKGROUND: Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and has both beneficial and harmful effects in CVD. We hypothesized that weight gain following smoking cessation does not attenuate the CVD mortality of smoking cessation in the general Korean population. METHODS: Study subjects comprised 2.2% randomly selected patients from the Korean National Health Insurance Corporation, between 2002 and 2013. We identified 61,055 subjects who were classified as current smokers in 2003–2004. After excluding 21,956 subjects for missing data, we studied 30,004 subjects. We divided the 9,095 ex-smokers into two groups: those who gained over 2 kg (2,714), and those who did not gain over 2 kg (6,381, including weight loss), after smoking cessation. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate the association between weight gain following smoking cessation and CVD mortality. RESULTS: In the primary analysis, the hazard ratios of all-cause deaths and CVD deaths were assessed in the three groups. The CVD risk factors and Charlson comorbidity index adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) for CVD deaths were 0.80 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37 to 1.75) for ex-smokers with weight gain and 0.80 (95% CI, 0.50 to 1.27) for ex-smokers with no weight gain, compared to one for sustained smokers. The associations were stronger for events other than mortality. The aHRs for CVD events were 0.69 (95% CI, 0.54 to 0.88) and 0.81 (95% CI, 0.70 to 0.94) for the ex-smokers with and without weight gain, respectively. CONCLUSION: Although smoking cessation leads to weight gain, it does not increase the risk of CVD death.