chewing tobacco, pipes, and cigars are all made with dried tobacco leaves,
which naturally contain the drug nicotine. Manufacturers of these products add
additional nicotine, as well as a host of other chemicals and additives, to
make smoking more enjoyable. One report suggests there are as many as 7,000
different chemicals in one cigarette. These additives can have disastrous
effects on your health.
dependence causes an addiction to tobacco products. If and when you try to
quit, you may face any number of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Most people who
try to quit deal with at least one. These symptoms can include:
cravings to smoke
As a rule,
people who have smoked for a longer period of time and those who smoke at a
higher volume (a larger number of cigarettes in a day) have the greatest
likelihood of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms may also be made worse at
certain times of day or in certain places. Your mind may unconsciously
associate a variety of places, people, or times with smoking and set off a
trigger to smoke.
physical withdrawal from nicotine is only temporary, but it can be difficult to
cope with your body’s reaction. If you choose to quit without the assistance of
a smoking-cessation aid (sometimes known as quitting “cold turkey”), withdrawal
usually begins two to three hours after you last smoke, and the symptoms are
likely to get worse for several days. Peak withdrawal occurs about three days
after your last smoke. Then, as your body becomes accustomed to not having the
nicotine, symptoms of withdrawal will subside.
smokers are fearful of these withdrawal symptoms and choose to quit nicotine in
a milder manner. This can be done with the help of low-nicotine cigarettes or
smoking-cessation aids, such as gums, patches, and prescription medicine.
how you do it, you will likely encounter withdrawal symptoms at some point in your
quit-smoking journey. You do not have to give in to these symptoms and give up
your quest to be smoke-free. Here are a few tips for coping with your
can improve mood and may give you a false sense of well-being. Without the
drug, you may begin to feel slightly depressed. Thirty minutes of exercise each
day can help beat the sagging feeling of fatigue and depression by boosting natural
“feel-good” endorphins in your body. Exercise may also help you sleep better.
For the best results, avoid exercising right before you turn in; give yourself
three to four hours of downtime before you go to bed.
Sleep & Rest
is going through a lot of change as it works to rid itself of the nicotine
dependence. If you feel more tired or sleepy, it is OK to take a nap or go to
bed a bit earlier. Your body still detoxes while you are asleep.
replace your cravings for nicotine with food, you may see the number on the
scale increase. This is another reason people put off quitting—fear of gaining
weight. Find a distraction other than food when you begin craving a cigarette.
You might try playing a game, reading your favorite website, or going for a
run. The goal is to get yourself away from the temptation and busy focusing on
a different idea.
Make Your Life Smoke-Free
friends and family members to respect your new lifestyle and refrain from
smoking around you. This may mean asking them to smoke only outside and not in
your house or car. You remove your temptation, and you may also encourage them
to rethink their habit. It can be a win-win.
past, you turned to cigarettes as a quick pick-me-up when times were stressful—but
no more. Now you have to find techniques to deal with everyday stress in a
healthier way. Physical activity—walking, cleaning the house, or gardening—can
help you reduce your stress while keeping your mind off any cravings. Deep-breathing
techniques or meditation can help you find calm and avoid taking stress out in
less constructive ways. Whatever way you find works best for you, remember to
turn to that when you need to let off some steam.
Turn to Your Accountability Partner
and tell them about your withdrawal. Also, let them know the rationalizations
you’re making: “Just one cigarette won’t set me back too much” or “I’ll smoke a
cigarette just this once to get through this craving.”
partner can help you identify ways you are sabotaging your quit-smoking plan,
and can provide the support and encouragement to get through the craving.
You have reached a milestone. You made it a whole day without smoking. Reward
yourself when you reach your goals—a day, a week, a month, six months of being
cigarette-free. That way, when you are telling yourself “one cigarette won’t
hurt,” you can focus on the prize you have set up as celebration for being strong.
Treat yourself to some downtime—maybe indulge in a bubble bath, slip away to
watch your favorite TV show, or take yourself out to a movie. And plan for
tomorrow’s mini celebration so you will have something to look forward to when
a craving sets in.