When you stop smoking, withdrawal symptoms are signs that your body is cleaning itself out. Some people don't have many symptoms. If you do, knowing what's going on can help you and the people around you.
Most symptoms only last a few days, but some may take a few weeks to settle down.
If you smoke 10 or more cigarettes a day, use nicotine patches in conjunction with gum, tablets or inhaler to ease the nicotine-related symptoms. Keep reminding yourself about the good side to all of this!
Nicotine is addictive and causes most of the physical withdrawal symptoms you feel when you first stop.
Nicotine and related chemicals are gone from your body in two to three days after your last cigarette.
Common withdrawal symptoms
Cravings for each cigarette only last a few minutes. As you resist them, they become less frequent and easier to deal with.
Coughing may increase as your lungs clean themselves out. The little hairs (cilia) that clean the lungs begin to work again.
Tingling in your fingers and toes may result from a better blood supply to your fingers and toes. This will pass as the cells get used to more oxygen.
Restlessness and difficulty concentrating or sleeping may result from your body adjusting to being free of nicotine. Deep breathing and relaxation exercises can help. Remember to drink less alcohol, coffee, tea and cola drinks.
Constipation, diarrhoea or nausea can be a problem as your body gets rid of nicotine. A varied diet and plenty of water can help.
Headaches can result from the stress of quitting. Try to relieve the pressure by deep breathing or gentle exercise.
Increased hunger and a gain of two to three kilograms may result from your metabolic rate returning to normal. Watch what you eat and do some light exercise.
Drowsiness and fatigue will pass and you'll soon have more energy.
Sweating, shaking, dizziness and light-headedness are signs of your body readjusting to no nicotine. They don't last long.
Research has shown that quitting smoking significantly reduces anxiety. Although smokers may feel that a cigarette relaxes them, this is probably only due to it counteracting withdrawal symptoms.
While anxiety may decrease, ex-smokers do not have reduced levels of depression: nicotine has been shown to be an effective antidepressant.
If you are depressed and trying to quit smoking, talk to your doctor about treating your depression at the same time.