These studies examined the cellular mechanisms for lower adiposity seen with nicotine ingestion. Rats were infused with nicotine or saline for 1 wk and adipocytes isolated from epididymal fat pads. Nicotine-infused rats gained 37% less weight and had 21% smaller fat pads. Basal lipolysis was 78% higher, whereas the maximal lipolytic response to isoproterenol was blunted in adipocytes from nicotine-infused rats. The antilipolytic actions of adenosine and the levels of serum catecholamines were unaffected by nicotine. The nicotine-induced alteration in lipolysis was not associated with any changes in hormone-sensitive lipase. Nicotine caused a 30% decrease in lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity, without any changes in LPL mass or mRNA levels, in epididymal fat in the fed state. In contrast, LPL activity, mass, and mRNA levels in heart were increased by nicotine whether animals were fed or fasted. These studies provide evidence for multiple mechanistic events underlying nicotine-induced alterations in weight and suggest that nicotine diverts fat storage away from adipose tissue and toward utilization by muscle.