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Unfortunately, when you quit smoking, experiencing withdrawal symptoms is common. The side effects of quitting smoking can be diverse. Not everyone experiences the side-effects of withdrawal to the same degree. This is because our bodies deal with the lack of nicotine and other chemicals in tobacco smoke in varying ways.

Side Effects of Quitting Smoking


  1. Cigarette cravings continue after quitting smoking.
  2. Quitting can cause insomnia.
  3. After you stop smoking you will still cough.
  4. Quitting can cause depression, anxiety, and irritability.
  5. If you stop smoking, you might gain weight or have an increased appetite.
  6. Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult things a person can do. Nicotine is a multifaceted drug that millions of Americans struggle with each year. Remember, you are not alone in your quest to quit and regain your health. That said, quitting will not make you feel better instantaneously. In the paragraphs below, you'll find details about the five most common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, as well as information about several methods that you can use to cope during this uncomfortable time.


This article aims to prepare you for the potential side effects you may experience after you quit smoking. It also provides you with useful information regarding how to cope with these side effects. You can find details about each of these withdrawal symptoms below.

1. Cigarette Cravings Continue After Quitting Smoking
After you quit smoking, cravings for nicotine are most common. Typically, a craving can last around five minutes and can be very overwhelming. Using a nicotine replacement therapy aid, such as patches or gum, can help reduce how powerful a smoking craving is.

You will still need a contingency plan to get through smoking cravings. There are no quick fixes for smoking cravings. Focus on the reasons you have decided to quit smoking and the benefits you will gain when you succeed. Try diverting your attention by going for a short walk or practicing breathing exercises.

2. Quitting Can Cause Insomnia
Your body reacts to the lack of nicotine (a stimulant) after quitting smoking by desiring more stimulants, such as caffeine. This is often why, after you quit smoking, you become irritable and restless while your body adjusts.

To minimize this side effect, you should reduce your intake of coffee, tea, cola and stimulant caffeine drinks. Try decaffeinated products, or replacing tea and coffee with fruit juice or herbal teas.

3. After You Stop Smoking You Will Still Cough.
Often after you quit smoking you may develop a cough. This is caused by the cilia (the small hairs) that line your lungs and windpipe re-growing and working to clear out the tar and mucus that has built up over the time you were a smoker. Your body is healing itself. If your cough is lasting more than a couple of weeks, consult your doctor or healthcare provider. The cough may no longer be a side effect of quitting smoking.

4. Quitting Can Cause Depression, Anxiety, and Irritability.
One of the most dreaded side effects of quitting smoking, particularly by those around you, are the bad moods and tempers that are often associated with quitting. Try to remain stress-free, eat healthily and plan some light exercise into your day as that will help you relax.

5. If You Stop Smoking, You Might Gain Weight or Have an Increased Appetite.
Many people, particularly women, dread putting on weight after quitting smoking. There are a few reasons why people experience weight gain.

You may experience sugar cravings. This is because nicotine is a stimulant and gives you an adrenaline rush which, in turn, causes your body to “dump” sugar. After quitting smoking your body has a lower blood sugar level. It is no longer stimulated to release sugar. Eating small healthy snacks throughout the day helps reduce the sugar cravings. Eating may replace your smoking habit, so make sure you have healthy snacks available and do not replace your cigarette habit with candy or chocolate!

After you quit smoking, your taste buds suddenly rediscover the true taste of food, so you eat more! If you are experiencing increased appetite, try drinking a glass of water before your meals so you feel fuller more quickly.

By knowing what to expect after you quit smoking, you can prepare in advance. If you prepare for smoking withdrawal symptoms, then you are more likely to reach your goal of becoming smoke-free.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nicotine Withdrawal
Now that we've explored the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, let's examine some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the long-term effects of quitting the use of this drug.

How Long Does It take to Feel the Effects of Nicotine Withdrawal?
The earliest symptoms of withdrawal are cravings for a cigarette, followed by anxiety, anger, irritation, and a decrease in mental function. These problems cumulate, causing attention problems and difficulty in completing tasks. Most of these symptoms peak at approximately 3-5 days after quitting. Eventually, they begin to taper off.

How Long Does It Take for Your Body to Start to Repair Itself After You Quit Smoking?
It takes your body about eight hours after you quit for carbon monoxide to begin leaving your body. As your body attempts to maintain homeostasis, oxygen levels will begin to stabilize. Smoking causes mucus and other debris to build up in your lungs. This can take much longer to get rid of. While it can take as little as a day after your last cigarette for your lungs to clear out, your lungs are still badly damaged.

Do Your Lungs Heal After You Quit Smoking?
When you quit smoking, the inflammation in the airways goes down. Nevertheless, if you've been smoking a long time and have developed chronic bronchitis or emphysema, the lungs never totally heal.

Is It Normal to Cough Up Phlegm After Quitting Smoking?
After you quit smoking, the cilia start recovering. As the cilia recover, they will better clear mucus and phlegm from your lungs. This process can cause coughing that can take one to nine months to lessen. certain people may also notice that they cough more than usual when they initially quit smoking.

Is Vaping Better for You Than Smoking Cigarettes?
Many people who are trying to quit have considered turning to e-cigarettes. Often times, since nicotine is still present and the smoker's habitual motions are unchanged, smokers just replace one nicotine delivery method for another. However, there is a strong scientific consensus that vaping is far better for health than smoking. Vaping does not put tar into your lungs, but the damaging effects of nicotine use are still present. It's better to avoid smoking altogether.

Can Nicotine Patches Help Me Pace Out My Withdrawal Symptoms?
Yes, nicotine patches can help you pace out your withdrawal symptoms. Nevertheless, some people do become addicted to the patches, and the transdermal absorption of nicotine is still dangerous for your health in the long run. Starting with a medium strength nicotine patch and weaning oneself off the drug has been an effective method that many have used. If going cold turkey is too difficult, then this option can be helpful. Reducing your nicotine intact little by little can be an effective way to lessen the pain of withdrawal.

Can I Still Get Lung Cancer After I Quit?
Unfortunately, you can still get lung cancer after you quit smoking. Quitting will greatly reduce the risk of getting lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses. The risk of these illnesses decreases after you stop smoking and continues to decrease as more tobacco-free time passes. While the risk of lung cancer decreases over time, it can never return to that of someone who has never smoked.
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