Smoking is obviously an addiction that takes serious measures to overcome. Even after you put down that last cigarette, the battle with nicotine continues. The drug stays and continues to wreak havoc on the body days later. According to the American Cancer Society, you will be affected by the nicotine and chemicals in cigarettes for years in the future as your body attempts to repair the damage.
What Happens Immediately
Once you put out your last cigarette, the nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes are still working in your system, however, they will begin to subside. According to the Nova Southeastern University, the effects of quitting smoking occur as little as 20 minutes after you stop. That is when the pulse and blood pressure are supposed to decrease from the increased levels experienced while smoking. The toxins like carbon monoxide leave 12 hours after quitting. The nicotine leaves three to four days later.
While the body is ridding itself of the nicotine, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. They include irritation, weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, headaches, fatigue and cough, among other things. These symptoms will begin to taper off at day three or four after quitting smoking. This is the same time that the nicotine will leave the system. According to the American Cancer Society, however, urges that withdrawal symptoms may take a few weeks to fully dissipate.
Stop Smoking Aids
If you are quitting by using a smoking aid, then you may still have the nicotine in your system. Patches, gums and even the smoking-replacement devices all have doses of nicotine that decrease as you progress through the program. Despite the lower dose, it will still take a few days for the nicotine to leave your system.
Contact your doctor to find prescription products that help you quit smoking without nicotine. These drugs, buproprion and varenicline, also help with nicotine withdrawal symptoms. You will need a prescription for these drugs. People with certain conditions may not be able to take these drugs, so see your doctor for more information.