The thermogenic effect of nicotine intake after calorie consumption was investigated to determine if nicotine influences metabolic response to a calorie challenge. Smokers and nonsmokers (10 males in each group), matched for body weight, age, and physical fitness, each participated in four sessions that involved consuming a liquid calorie load (4.77 kcal/kg body wt) or water, followed by nicotine (15 micrograms/kg body wt) or placebo via nasal spray every 20 min for 2 h. Energy expenditure was significantly increased above baseline resting metabolic rate (RMR) over the 2 h by nicotine alone (6.5% of RMR, p less than 0.01). However, the combined effect of nicotine after calorie load (20.1% of RMR, p less than 0.001) was not significantly greater than the effect of calorie load alone (18.4% of RMR, p less than 0.001). Smokers and nonsmokers did not differ in baseline RMR or in response to nicotine or calorie load. These results confirm the thermogenic effect of nicotine but suggest that the effect of nicotine after calorie consumption is less than additive.