How Long Does Smoking Withdrawal Last?

Reviewed on 1/12/2022
People trying to quit smoking may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms for less than two weeks. Withdrawal symptoms are usually not extreme.
People trying to quit smoking may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms for less than two weeks. Withdrawal symptoms are usually not extreme.

Smoking and use of tobacco products, such as cigars, e-cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco, can cause or worsen numerous diseases and conditions. Smoking is responsible for about 90% of lung cancer deaths and about 80% of deaths caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Nicotine is a chemical in cigarettes that causes physical addiction. In addition, smoking can also become a habit that is linked with social activities, making it difficult for many smokers to quit.  

  • Most people have to attempt to quit smoking multiple times before they finally quit for good. 
  • Nicotine withdrawal can be a difficult part of trying to quit smoking. The body becomes addicted to nicotine over time, so when you stop smoking your body goes through withdrawal. 
  • Nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually last less than two weeks. It may feel uncomfortable, but it is not dangerous.

What Are the Symptoms of Nicotine Withdrawal?

Common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include:

  • Cigarette/nicotine cravings 
    • Cravings may last longest of all the withdrawal symptoms
    • Knowing triggers for smoking can help quitters plan to deal with cravings
    • Common triggers include: 
      • Emotional: these are intense emotions that cause you to want to smoke such as stress, anxiety, or even boredom
      • Pattern: an activity that is connected with smoking in your life such as drinking alcohol, talking on the phone, driving, or after sex
      • Social: occasions in which you smoke, usually with others such as at a bar, party, or concert
      • Physical withdrawal: this is the body withdrawing from nicotine, which can involve feeling restless or having other withdrawal symptoms or needing to do something with your hands or mouth
  • Feeling down or sad
  • Problems sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Feeling on edge
  • Problems thinking clearly and concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Slower heart rate
  • Increased hunger/appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Depression

QUESTION

What is the average weight gain for those who quit smoking? See Answer

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Reviewed on 1/12/2022
References
https://www.lung.org/quit-smoking

https://smokefree.gov/challenges-when-quitting