The Side Effects When Quitting Smoking


Smoking is a habit that many people pick up due to experimentation or peer pressure when they are teenagers. Quitting tobacco use at that point in their lives is the furthest thing from their minds. However, when the day finally arrives, and hopefully it is soon enough, a decision to quit, usually based on fear of future consequences, happens. That fear outweighs the addiction and the person is then faced with nicotine withdrawal symptoms that can seem overwhelming.

The Emotions

  • Much of the perceived addiction is the actual process of smoking itself and how people manage to incorporate the smoking of a cigarette into so many facets of their daily lifestyles. Smokers use cigarettes to relax, to make important decisions, to kill time, to be part of a group or any number of other reasons. Missing daily smoking breaks can trigger stress or anger. A person might be nervous or jittery. Anger can arise and depression and anxiety about not being able to stay the course may affect the person's mood as well.

The Physical

  • Your body does actually become addicted to nicotine and when it is missing, a craving for more ensues. The physical craving for nicotine, however, only lasts between 48 and 72 hours and after that, all of the nicotine is out of your circulatory system. Your body is not what is craving it at that point; it is your mind telling you to smoke. Physical withdrawal symptoms are real enough though and can manifest themselves as headaches, insomnia, stomach pains, tiredness, heaviness, shortness of breath, chest pains, coughing and any other negative things that your mind can convince your body it is experiencing. The inability to concentrate or focus on anything other than an overwhelming desire to smoke again can dominate a person's consciousness to the point of breaking her will, and cause her to have that first puff again.

Lifestyle Change

  • Quitting tobacco has left you with another side effect, which is changing your habits and lifestyle. You need to find another behavior after breakfast instead of lighting up as you did before. Break time at work always meant going outside with the smoking gang and engaging in conversation about favorite subjects. That decision that you would wrestle with over a cigarette will just have to be resolved some other way now. Altering life patterns can be one of the hardest parts of overcoming the addiction to tobacco. Your good friend that was with you throughout the years in good times and especially in bad times is not with you any longer. Change can be good and in this case, with your health in the balance, change is great and you need to realize that fact.


  • After quitting smoking, food does taste better. Your taste buds lose their tobacco coating and you can really taste flavors again. People do put weight on after quitting tobacco, but there are ways to combat that also. Exercise and correct proportioning of healthy foods can get your life going in the right direction again. Some people also eat more after quitting to fill the void left in their life by tobacco. Overindulgence is easy to succumb to in a weakened state of intestinal fortitude and happens to many ex-smokers. Therefore, weight gain is a real hurdle to overcome on the road to a tobacco free life.

Failed Systems

  • Many people try to quit smoking numerous times, only to fall back into its clutches once again. Patches, gum, hypnotism and any other fabricated system that people try can work for some, but others have little or no success with them. Multiple failures with multiple systems affect how a person views himself. Low self-esteem, the feeling that he is a loser or a quitter can have a serious and lasting psychological effect on a person's outlook on life and where and how he fits into the world.

Cold Turkey

  • Quitting all at once is what is referred to as quitting "cold turkey." The thought of doing it this way is frightening to some smokers, who see this challenge as an insurmountable obstacle that they will never be able to get over. The threat of a sudden stoppage of nicotine paralyzes them in regards to this action. This side effect is almost a pre-effect, which perpetuates the habit and causes inaction through sheer fear of the event when a person thinks about quitting.

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