What Is Nicotine
Nicotine is a
drug found in tobacco, which makes smoking addictive. Nicotine can have a wide
range of effects on the brain, including:
concentration and short-term memory
a sense of well-being
be as addictive as other drugs, including alcohol, cocaine, and morphine.
to nicotine, tobacco is thought to contain about 70 cancer-causing chemicals
(carcinogens). These chemicals can result in the development of smoking-related
diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke. In an effort to
prevent these diseases, millions of smokers attempt to quit each year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and
68.8 percent of smokers say they want to quit completely.
withdrawal makes it more difficult to quit. Withdrawal is the set of
distressing physical symptoms that occur when you stop using an addictive
What Are the Symptoms of
of nicotine withdrawal can begin within 30 minutes of your last use of tobacco.
Symptoms will depend on your level of addiction. Factors such as how long you
used tobacco and how much tobacco you use on a daily basis will impact the
severity of your symptoms.
nicotine withdrawal include:
- intense cravings for nicotine
- tingling in the hands and feet
- nausea and intestinal cramping
- coughing, sore throat
- difficulty concentrating
- weight gain
nicotine withdrawal typically peak within two to three days. The symptoms often
go away by two weeks. Some people may experience nicotine withdrawal for several
How Is Nicotine Withdrawal
decide to quit smoking, contact your doctor to discuss ways to manage your
withdrawal symptoms. They may be able to provide you with access to
prescription medication or information about support groups in your community.
different treatment options are available for nicotine withdrawal.
Over-the-counter nicotine replacement medications such as nicotine gum and skin
patches, or prescription nicotine replacement methods such as inhalers and
nasal sprays, can help reduce symptoms by slowly decreasing the amount of
nicotine in your body.
also include the use of non-nicotine prescription medications such as Zyban or
trying to quit smoking, you may benefit from the help of others who are trying
to quit. Joining a smoking cessation program or a support group may increase
your chances of success.
What Complications Are
Associated with Nicotine Withdrawal?
withdrawal is not a life-threatening condition. However, you may notice some
physical or mood changes once you quit smoking. Some people gain weight as a
result of stopping smoking. Talk to your primary care provider if you have
concerns about this issue. They may be able to help you identify strategies to
manage your weight.
may also experience mental health issues. Patients who have had episodes of
depression in the past may experience a relapse. This may also occur for people
who have had bipolar disorder or other substance abuse problems. Depression
associated with nicotine withdrawal is often temporary and subsides with time.
Depression is a treatable condition, but it can be life-threatening if it’s
left untreated. If you have a history of depression, talk to your doctor about
ways to manage your symptoms during smoking cessation.
What Is the Long-Term
nicotine withdrawal is often the most difficult part of quitting smoking. Many
people have to try more than once to quit. The more you try to quit, the more
likely you will be to succeed.
there are many situations in your daily life that may trigger your desire to
smoke. These situations can intensify symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Triggers
around other smokers
in a car
coffee or tea
on the phone
your triggers and try to avoid them if you can. In general, the symptoms of
nicotine withdrawal pass quickly. Most symptoms pass within a week.
symptoms of withdrawal stop, you may still experience long-term cravings for
tobacco. Curbing these cravings will be important for long-term success. Many people
can manage cravings by avoiding triggers, engaging in moderate physical
activity, and practicing deep breathing exercises. Another helpful tip is to substitute
carrots, gum, or hard candy for cigarettes, as this can curb the psychological
need to smoke.