A longtime cigarette habit can have gnarly consequences if you’re trying to cut back and reduce your nicotine intake.
Cutting back or quitting smoking altogether is incredibly difficult. If it wasn’t, would people still smoke cigarettes?
You may be wondering...how long will these feelings last? How many days will this go on? Is there a natural way to make this easier?
As one former Redditor shares: “By hour 72, you will want to f*cking murder anyone that even breathes near you. The following day, the mind games will be so intense that you’ll actually consider murder just so you can take a break afterwards, with a much needed smoke.”
Well, there’s that. Yeah, it’s tough as nails. The nicotine withdrawal is a powerful force, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a tougher nut to crack.
Making this decision is an important one -- not just for you and your health, but also your family, friends, and those who spend any time around you.
Here’s what you need to know about nicotine withdrawal, including symptoms and when to expect them, plus 6 helpful tips on how to manage nicotine withdrawal.
How long does nicotine withdrawal last?
Experts say that the chemical or physical nicotine withdrawal usually lasts about a month. The psychological withdrawal effects of nicotine are much more severe.
If you’re a regular cigarette smoker, nicotine withdrawal may be challenging on a habitual level. You’ve likely tried smoking a cig to all kinds of habits -- things like waking up, making breakfast, driving to work, taking a break, going out for a phone call, doing the dishes, etc. could all revolve around a cigarette break in some context.
Breaking the cycle of difficult triggers that have you craving a cigarette during every day life, or simply having a cigarette while you pass the time, may be a much tougher pill to swallow. Some quitters say it gets better after a few months, many grow to despise cigarettes altogether, while some say it’s a daily struggle.
What are nicotine withdrawal symptoms I should expect?
Everyone is different, but below are a few common symptoms that come with nicotine withdrawal:
- Feeling depressed, anxious, irritable, or moody
- Having difficulty focusing or concentrating
- Stomach aches, constipation and other digestive issues
- Dry mouth
- Experiencing new dreams or night tremors, as well as having difficulty sleeping
- Because nicotine can be an appetite suppressant, it’s not uncommon for former smokers to have some gained weight as they quit smoking
Unfortunately, these symptoms can begin within as little as one hour after putting out your cigarette.
As you prepare yourself to cut back or quit smoking cigarettes, it’s important to prepare yourself for nicotine withdrawal symptoms that will happen. Some may be more intense than others, but the more you set yourself up for success by planning ahead with our tips below, the more likely you’ll succeed in your cessation goals.
Is there a nicotine withdrawal timeline?
There’s no standard path -- cravings and symptoms vary from person to person.
Immediate withdrawal symptoms start from one hour to 24 hours from your last cigarette.
Day 3 is generally regarded as the worst of the worst -- remember our friend from Reddit with the homicidal tendencies?
These feelings improve over time, especially around one month after quitting cigarettes.
Tips on dealing with nicotine withdrawal - how to not give in to temptations to smoke
- Stay busy: keeping yourself and your mind involved with other tasks will help keep the urge to smoke away. When you get bored, it’s easy to drift into the thought of “just grabbing a quick cig” to pass the time.
- Move your body: try out a new habit of walking, running, going to the gym and strength training, or even giving a new workout class a whirl. It may be rough at first, but consider how rewarding you’ll enjoy your new exercise habit. This energy will deter any desire to undo your new health progress by reaching for a cig.
- Drink your water: buy a massive water bottle and carry it around. You’ll be preoccupied keeping up with your water intake throughout the day. If you feel a craving coming on, just take a big sip of cool water instead. You’ll slowly recondition your brain to crave water instead!
- Change up your circle: if you hang out with a bunch of smokers, it may be helpful to switch up who you spend your time with. Spending time with people who have habits you aspire have, or not have, will help you toward your goals. Surround yourself with people that want to support you! More good news? After a while, when you see your old friends smoking, chances are that the scent of cigarettes will be enough to keep you away.
- Let the money talk: ever wonder how much you’re spending on cigarettes? Try Quit It Lite, a mobile app that tells you how much money you’ve saved, how many cigarettes you’ve stopped smoking, how much tar you’ve eliminated from your body, and reminds you of the goals you’ve set for yourself. Just plug in your current cigarette habits and let technology do all the work, because... there’s an app for that.
- Give NRTs a try: nicotine replacement therapy products are designed to bridge the gap from your current cigarette habit to just the right amount of nicotine your body is craving in that moment, without the tar, lung damage, and cancer risks associated with cigarettes. We designed LUCY chew and park nicotine gum with this in mind -- a cool, easy-to-use solution you can pop anywhere without any judgment from friends, family, or gossiping coworkers.
Our hope is these six tips to help you beat cigarette cravings and work through your nicotine withdrawal symptoms. If your goal is to quit smoking or just cut back on cigarettes, you’re in the driver’s seat, and we’re rooting for you.
The information contained in this website is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended as, nor should not be construed as a substitute for, professional medical or health advice any subject matter. Please consult your physician regarding any medical treatment decisions.