Nicotine Withdrawal Timeline

If you are thinking about quitting smoking, than I highly recommend that you read through this timeline. We worked really hard on it and we think it does a great job of getting people excited to quit and ready to take on the challenge. It’s not as bad as you think, I promise you that. So give it a read, see what you think.

NOTE: After you read this, then check out the links we provided right below this for more official links on the nicotine withdrawal. This way you’ll know everything here is supported by legitimate sources.

quit_smoking_infographic

Nicotine addiction truly is an addiction, and shouldn’t be pushed to the side as simply a ‘habit’ that only requires willpower to overcome. In fact, scientists find that nicotine addiction and withdrawal is on par with or above addictions to cocaine and heroin. These substances may cause a more intense high than nicotine, but the addiction itself – how the body becomes dependent upon it – is equally as strong. Because of the incredibly complex physical and mental addiction to nicotine, trying to break free of the dependency creates a series of withdrawal symptoms that range from mild to severe. These withdrawal symptoms are so severe that even people who know the health consequences of smoking can’t seem to push through the symptoms of withdrawal no matter how much they truly want to quit.

NOTE: Before you continue on, heck out these useful links real quick. Then read on to the explanation! We placed the links near the bottom too, so you can read them after if you’d prefer that.

Recommended: Useful Links

Addiction Resource >

NY Times >

American Cancer Society >

The Acute Phase: Week One

Many of the symptoms that manifest in week one continue throughout the entire withdrawal process, and can even linger after withdrawal is over. That is the nature of addiction. However, the first week is generally the hardest for smokers to make it through, as the body is normalizing after constant nicotine exposure.

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can actually begin as early as 30 minutes after smoking a cigarette (or vaping an e-cig). Depending on how long a person has been smoking, and on how heavily they smoke, the effects of nicotine on the brain generally wears off anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. It has a very short lifespan once introduced to the brain, and therefore must be delivered in very regular doses in order to maintain the ‘buzz’ that the brain is used to functioning on.

Most of these symptoms peak approximately 3-5 days after quitting, and then begin to taper off.

The earliest symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are usually cravings for a cigarette, followed by anxiety, anger, irritation, and a decrease in mental function causing attention problems and difficulty in completing some tasks. These symptoms can begin 30 minutes after smoking, and continue to rise in intensity as time goes on. Most of these symptoms peak approximately 3-5 days after quitting, and then begin to taper off. That is because by around day 3, the body has cleared itself of all of the nicotine from the last cigarette.

Physical symptoms throughout the first week include a headache, increased appetite, dizziness, constipation, stomach pain, fatigue, and insomnia. In addition, many smokers begin to develop a tightness in the chest, begin to cough or notice an increase in mucus. This is because the respiratory system has begun to heal, and is in the process of removing the irritants that it was previously unable to do.

Other Common Withdrawal Side Effects

  • Depression
  • Restlessness/Boredom
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Moodiness
  • Sore throat
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Tingling in hands and feet
  • Sweating/Having chills

The Long Haul: Weeks 2-4

The first week usually brings the majority of withdrawal symptoms. Moving into the following weeks, they gradually begin to fade away.

Insomnia: Usually resolves by the end of week one.

Fatigue: Energy levels may be low for 2-4 weeks.

Mental fatigue/feeling foggy: Mental clarity should begin to pick up in about 2 weeks.

Hunger: Appetite should return to normal in 2-4 weeks.

Stomach upset: Heartburn, nausea and stomach pain taper around 2 weeks, constipation may last for up to 4 weeks.

Cough/Mucus production: These may persist past 4 weeks, although they often begin to get better in about 2-3 weeks.

Throughout the entire withdrawal process, from day one on, the biggest challenge will be the nicotine cravings and the stress that is associated with them. These cravings cause extreme anxiety and agitation. A hallmark of quitting cigarettes is the bad mood, high temper, and frustration that a smoker experiences. This desire for another cigarette can seem nearly constant throughout the first week. Over the next weeks, however, cravings begin to taper off. Less cravings are experienced and they do not last as long as before.

Without smoking, there is time during the day that needs to be occupied, and it is difficult to find ways to divert attention or to find new ways to spend that time.

As these cravings begin to go away, the associated mood disturbances also fade. Without constantly battling the desire to smoke again, stress levels go down. Edginess and shortness of temper can ease after week one, and then gradually smooth out over the next month, although some occasional outbursts may persist.

Restlessness and boredom are often the last side effects to cease. Smoking cigarettes fills time and has become a habit that is very hard to break. Without smoking, there is time during the day that needs to be occupied, and it is difficult to find ways to divert attention or to find new ways to spend that time. This sense of restlessness does gradually improve, but is still something many quitters feel even past the 4 week mark.

Although insomnia should peak during weak one and only come sporadically through the next three weeks, fatigue and loss of concentration or mental ability may continue to be bothersome in weeks 2-4. Since nicotine is a stimulant, the body has learned to function with increased levels of chemicals like acetylcholine and vasopressin in the brain, which work to improve memory and enhance cognitive function.

Hunger or appetite increases can begin within the first 24 hours of withdrawal. The uptake of serotonin and dopamine act as an appetite suppressant, and when nicotine levels lower, appetite increases. In addition, withdrawal often causes cravings for carbohydrates and sweets, and many smokers eat simply to replace the act of smoking. Generally, the first two weeks of this side effect are the worst, and then it also begins to normalize as more time passes. Associated weight gain is also considered a side effect, although the gain is usually very small, only 5-10 pounds. This weight gain may begin in the first week, and slowly increase through weeks 2-4.

There is no real timeline for withdrawal symptoms, because each quitting experience is unique. However, as a general rule of thumb, many of the physical symptoms like dizziness or headache fade quickly, and are not very severe. The emotional, mental, and behavioral symptoms tend to persist much longer and produce many more problems, but can be managed and overcome.

Coasting For Life: Week 5 – The Rest of Your Life

Once you get through the first month, the road ahead becomes much rosier. If you are at this point than give yourself a huge pat on the back! You’ve made it through the intense cravings, the emotional roller coaster, and the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Getting through one month without a cigarette is a big accomplishment and you should reward yourself.

Now that the physical and mental symptoms of withdrawal have calmed down, you can relax…but not too much! You will have to remain vigilant for the rest of your life because relapse can happen even after years without a cigarette. One of the best ways to do this is to remind yourself of the hellstorm you experienced during the first month of quitting.

You will also have to deal with “smoking nostalgia” for the rest of your life. You’ll remember the good times you had while smoking or the feeling of a cigarette after a meal or in the morning.

Mental cravings will still pop up from time to time, especially in the first year, but they won’t be anything near the level of the first month.  Beware of situations where you will be around a lot of tobacco smoke or around folks that you used to smoke with. Constantly remind yourself that things like taking a smoke break with the smokers or having a cigarette on the first day of spring are not worth going through the trouble of quitting again.

You will also have to deal with “smoking nostalgia” for the rest of your life. You’ll remember the good times you had while smoking or the feeling of a cigarette after a meal or in the morning. Don’t let yourself get sentimental! For every cigarette that felt great, there were hundreds more that you didn’t really want to smoke but had to because your addiction demanded it.

The rest of your life will be filled with temptations and thoughts that could drive you back to the pack. These thoughts and temptations can catch you off-guard because you’re not so intensely focused on quitting as you were in the first few weeks.

If you are still in the first month of quitting or have yet to start the quitting process yet, than take this section as a reminder that the effects of quitting will soon fade into a healthier, happier and smoke-free lifestyle! Right now you may be dealing with intense cravings, emotional turbulence and mental anguish, but within a few short weeks those will fade into small mental temptations that you can easily swat away as you go on with your cigarette-less life.

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94 Comments

  1. Got through the first 12 days but day 11 nearly had a mental breakdown and brought a packet. Did not smoke any though. Thought I was going crazy. Struggling with patches but mini’s are helpful. Good to know I can aim for the month mark to see this calm down a bit – probably the 6 week mark to be sure – but yes I expect plenty of temptation even when this has past. Thanks – the advice was helpful Christine

    • Hah day 11 was murder for me as well!! I even resented apologising to the two strangers I snapped at lol… but I still apologised, albeit begrudgingly 😉 Day 13 now and about to leave for my 13th hour-long hill trek including 700 odd stairs! I’ve already done more exercise in the last 13 days as what I did for all of 2016. Ok exaggeration, but you get my drift. I’m determined I’m going to get FIT instead of Fat!! And my Golden Rule from whyquit.com – NTAP ie Never Take Another Puff. Cold Turkey from cigarettes and all/any form of nicotine, because it has the highest rates of success of any method 🙂

      • Tomorrow is day 14 but the most majestic moment was yesterday when I went to central London and found myself whizzing through the stairs and escalators f London underground and British rail and even running up the stairs at one point too catch my train home and it was like how it was when I was 25 years old (now 50) no sweat or fast heart beats. I am beginning to be a human again not a pig )))

        And the NTAP rule is sooooo cool. I will cherish it specially when peer pressure looms. My late father used to tell me ‘Never Give Up Giving Up’ and I am not Giving up NTAP.

      • I have not Smoked or used any nicotine for the last 75 days. I joined a gym but I’m still struggling to stop eating so much and I have intense sugar cravings. Any suggestions for appetite control that is not chemical?

    • My craving completely stopped after 36 days, after that i didn’t have any cravings, it’s all relative from person to person. For someone it completely stops after 20 days, but for others it may take longer. I stopped for 5 months, after that time i really was born again, i didn’t have 1 milimeter of craving or was remotely interested, even if i tried to think of it, i was disgusted.

      After 5 months of stopping, my friend offered me a cigarette, i didn’t need it, i just forced it upon myself. I was thinking ”I have zero need for it + i have been off for half a year, it would be impossible to be as addicted as i was before i quit smoking”, that was the biggest mistake i ever did.

      1 hour later after my first smoke, my whoooooole body had an already installed driver that immediately recognized/remembered the addiction. Your body will always have a memory for that addiction you used to have, doesn’t matter if it’s years down the line, it will remember.

      Now i’ve been off for 30 days, and i’m never going back. I’m saying this to you who has never quit the nicotine addiction for as long as i’ve done it, so you don’t make the same mistake. Because you will come to that point where you 100% don’t need nor crave for it, and in that moment you will tell yourself ”It’s impossible to get addicted again, it’s just 1 smoke. I’ve been off for 1 year, my body won’t remember”, it’s just like heroine it will forever ever stick, DO NOT TAKE IT!

      • Exactly same after 7 months! Biggest mistake… Another one I felt for after 6 months was the electronic cigarette same thing… Stay away!
        4 years later … I’m on day 4…

      • AD, you are correct. I quit for 18 years. Of course I had it licked. Hahaha! I am now trying to quit again and it is painful!!!!! Never even a puff. It’s not worth it.

        • Yup, truth. I quit for 10 years! After my mom died, I thought , “Sure I can have one.” Been trying to quit for 7 years. :/ midnight is my quit date. Wish me luck!

        • Oh my gosh. Thank you for sharing. I am on day 4 and thinking I can sneak a puff. Haha. I went cold turkey. I am now, I believe, just craving “puffing”. I don’t want the nic just want to puff. Puff, puff, puff. So I will put my headphones on and sing! Well, that’ll get me through for today! I’m really dizzy today too….

    • Hi, I’m on day 5. But I purchased this stuff I seen floating around on facebook called TBX-FREE. I got it from amazon and read all reviews I could. It works tremendously! I do not work for or am affiliated in any way with this company. Just want to help everyone else. Google it. Research it. You won’t be sorry

    • This is an awesome post! I am on Day 5 of my quit and this describes me to a T! I quit before but did not have the intense withdrawals that i am having now. I feel much better today except for extreme fatigue and lack of concentration. I am looking forward to feeling better soon! Thanks!

    • I am the novice. It’s been 4 days. Sometimes ok others I could just flip out. But I am determined. I have always considered myself a casual smoker but for the last year it has not been so casual. This is harder than I expected but I want to do this. I have been awake since 3 am so I am a liitle cranky to say the least. My poor husband! I am taking it hour by hour. Thanks for letting me vent. Yes we can do it! And I will keep repeating this over and over.

      • I’m only on day 3… and this has been about the 4th real try I’ve given since starting to casually smoke at age 20… I’m about to turn 26 and that casual smoking turned into a pack every couple days and even more when alcohol is involved… really trying hard this time I’ve seen it cause a lot of damage to people I love and just want to have a happier healthier life!

    • Hi my name is Dana I stumble upon this site.i quit smoking myself cold turkey is on 6 day .I had surgery I had a polup on my vocal cord.scared me .I already quit before my surgery.i was done .I had enough my breathing my voice being horse. Everything went good on surgery voice good again gotta take it easy .If people don’t get a scare on how Precious life is .Then you will never quit..I wish all of you & me the best

  2. I am 27 years old. I started smoking daily at age 14 and stopped at age 22. I quit cold turkey, and I have never looked back since then. I stumbled onto this post in search of the health benefits after reaching the 5 year mark. This post compelled me to leave a comment. This post is very spot on with what I experienced from the first week throughout the first month and up till now. . Even after 5 years you will still want to relive a fond smoking memory, you just have to stay strong like this post said and remember the hell you had to endure for the first month or two. If you can envision your hard work, and efforts you put into quiting when your brain starts wandering, that has been what has got me through the past 5 years. Good luck to you all! I wish you all full blown success!!!!!!!

  3. Packed in for 8 months, started again whilst on holiday, it’s taken me about 8 months to stop again. The time line outlined here is on point. Looking forward to getting the first month out the way I’m only on day 7 cold turkey! Cheap cigs abroad was part of my trigger and thought I could make 20 last for the whole holiday and stop when returned home…kidded myself but that’s part of the play of addiction. We always have to remain vigilant. Big lesson learned and remembered for my next holiday :))

  4. I stopped smoking the day I had sharp pain in my left arm on the 7 th feb. Since then I have had mild headaches, shaking, can’t sleep, anxiety, anger and nausea. It is not easy to stop smoking, but after 40 years my body needs to heal and I must be strong. I hope this helps someone out there. Sue

    • Hi Sue,

      Thank you for your post. I have been smoking for the last 18 years and I always thought I can quit when I am ready. 7 days ago I underwent a medical procedure and had to quit cold turkey. It has been an emotional roller coaster and the slowest week I can remember. Stay strong and take it one hour, one day at a time.

    • Hi, I’m on day 5. But I purchased this stuff I seen floating around on facebook called TBX-FREE. I got it from amazon and read all reviews I could. It works tremendously! I do not work for or am affiliated in any way with this company. Just want to help everyone else. Google it. Research it. You won’t be sorry

    • I’m 5 days in (Cold Turkey) after 45 years. The cravings are not so strong. But I have developed flu like symptoms…maybe it is flu? A really deep cough that wakes me (and everyone else) up. Muzzy head and feel a bit depressed. I may feel crap but it doesn’t feel as bad as after a cigarette. Just lasts longer.

  5. Just started it has been one week and it’s not easy i have been smoking for over 30 years and had minor surgery and decided to quit smoking the day of my surgery one day at a time because theses urgents are not a joke. So by reading theses comments i know i can do this.

    • Last time I quit it was for 4 months and I started again because I couldn’t draw (I’m an illustrator), I just couldn’t find the flow and the concentration and I had trouble sleeping. Since it is my lively-hood, I couldn’t really cope with not creating and I ended up choosing to start to smoke again. Now I’m on hour 56 of withdrawal… it is hell once again but I’m hoping that this time the creativity will flow better and the insomnia will go away. I still have a few weeks to go though… until I know if can draw and not smoke…

  6. the easiest way to quit is get zero nicotine and vape nicotine free. you still get withdrawel symptoms but not near the way you get them if you were puffing on your ecig with smoke and coffee….Anyway im doing pretty good. on day 3 and cravings are getting a lot easier. soon i wont even want to bother with vaping…thats why i love quitting by vaping to do it….once your withdrawl symptoms get less and less so does even wanting to vape…that also leaves you…ive been smoking for 40 years and the first 3 days are the worst. after that it gets easier and easier to just go get busy doing something else and forgetting about wanting one….hope this helps somebody. vaping zero nicotine is my way of quitting and for me its the best way!!

    • Go you! I’m glad you found your method. Don’t ever let someone tell you “oh, well…good luck with that. You’ll just go back to it sucking on that thing.” People are idiots, everyone is different. How you quit doesn’t matter; what actually matters is that you actually quit and you never quit quitting!

      Once you quit, you have to train your mind to be vigilent, never say “well, it’s just one.” Tell your friends they can *never* give you a cigarette no matter what you tell them. It really is that silly. They will forget after you’ve quit for several months, so remind them. And remind them again. Never take another puff. I quit for 9 months, started back immediately after a bad break-up…why? Because I never truly quit, I had one here, one there, we smoked half a pack together one night at a bar to get through the trigger – that next day was horrible! It was back to day 1. Don’t – do – it! lol Quit again for 2 years, same thing. Just one here or there, once and awhile I’d do some shisha with friends – it’s not the same, right? Next thing I know I’m stopping at gas stations buying cigars that I didn’t even like, just so I wouldn’t go back to smoking a pack. Yeah…back to smoking within a couple months.

      I’m finishing my second week on Champix now, and I’m starting day 8 as a non-smoker again and I’ll NTAP! As Admiral Akbar says…”It’s a trap!” Good luck, and hey, give us an update sometime about the vaping…I think people might like to see that people do, indeed, stop doing that as well. I’ve known several people who quit using e-cigs just like you mentioned and they stopped vaping within a couple months.

  7. its good to quit. i quit a month back after smoking for 22 years. faced chest pain and still have but now much reduced etc…..High BP….. now though urge is there but under control and i can overlook it….. feel active and healthy. Suggest all friends who smoke they must quit it since its effects every organ of ur body from head to toe. Pls share ur experience too to guide and encourage others to get rid from smoking. take care every body, love and serve the nature and all creation of nature…no alternative to get. learn to forgive others and enjoy the life. STAY BLESSED
    Regards

  8. Day 15 for me. I smoked for 40 years. Came down with the flu two weeks ago which turned into pnuemonia. I am so crabby! Hard time sleeping. My mate who smokes isn’t the least bit happy with me. Hoping things get better and I can do this

  9. Been a smoker for 54 years.
    On day 5 without smokes,it’s ok.
    Tried. Quitting a couple of times,but relapsed after a fortnight because of many mouth ulcers.

    This time whatever happens I am quitting forever.

  10. Smoked for 21 years. Over the last 8 years have tried quitting 10+ times. However my addiction has been paced somewhat different then an average smoker as for the past 10 + years of my married life I have been somewhat a closet smoker. Don’t get me wrong my wife knows however I do not smoke once I get home from work and I typically don’t smoke on weekends at least the weekends I spend with her which is most. My issue is during this time when I know I can’t smoke, it does not bother me at all. Almost as if my habit / addiction forces my mind to understand. However when back to work or away from the house I can’t last an hour?? Longest stint quitting was for 3 Months 2 years ago using Champix. Problem was as soon as I went off almost immediately at work I started back up. Without medication or nicotine aids I typically have a few times a year where I will quit for 1 to 2 weeks at a time cold turkey. Again things like Christmas Holidays and Vacations with my family. We just finished a 2 week hot holiday vacation and I am on day 3 back in the office with no smoking. 19 days to be exact. This time I am ready as before holidays I cleaned vehicle, office space threw away all lighters to get these places more smoke free. Once again I had no problems on the 2 weeks away but now into the groove day 3 of work and it is painful. Wishing all of us the best of luck…….

  11. I have been smoking 42 years but very minimal. I always thought because I didn’t smoke a lot it was ok. My mother passed away 2 years ago from lung cancer and I still kept smoking. Two weeks ago I had surgery in my mouth and was told by my dentist I could not smoke at all. So this was it for me. I decided I have to do this. It’s two weeks today. It is so hard. I’m trying so hard. I refuse to give in to it. I just can’t wait to get past this. I’m not going back.

    • It’s terrible, isn’t it? You think when you aren’t a heavy smoker that it’ll be easier, or you can quit anytime you like. But nictotine addiction is like heroin addiction – even just one a day will start building a dependency, and you’ll still get hit by all the withdrawl. You can do it, though! Stay at it, and NTAP! Good luck!

  12. I’m on day 4, and this anxiety is driving me up the wall. It’s like a constant, unending, low grade panic attack. I’m not hyperventilating, but I am tense and nauseated nearly 24/7. I’ve always been high strung, and have suffered panic attacks in the past (mostly in enclosed spaces), but this is ridiculous. I’m not going to start smoking again, but I am seeing the doc in a few days to maybe ask about anti-anxiety meds. My body can’t take much more. 🙁

  13. Good luck to you all. I have not had a fag for nearly a year mothers day will make a year

    But be on your guard you will still crave a fag but stay strong it dont last long.

    Im so proud of myself but must say since ive stopped ive had some minor health issues which im not 100% sure are linked but i didnt have when i was a smoker!!

    • I hear ya. It’s only been 3 days & I’m climbing the walls! I’ve tried “many” times. However, I’m really hoping I can quit for good! Had a new pain & the Dr said the “C” word. So scared! Smoked for 40 years & always knew the consequences but this young. It’s great to read that others have the same withdraw symptoms. I’m hoping for everyone’s success!

    • I’m on day three. I want one soooooo bad. Help! I can taste one right now as I’m typing this. That is all. Carry on.

  14. Had a surgical procedure on Tuesday and not allowed to smoke. On day 4 and feeling dizzy and sweating. Very weak but here’s the opportunity to give up. Didn’t expect this never even thought about it.

  15. I quit for almost 12 years. Started up about 3 years ago. I hate it. I hate smelling, I miss being able to breathe, I hate the cost, and how people treat you because you smoke. It is now 11:03 am on 03/03/17 and I haven’t had a smoke since 10:00 pm last night. I can’t stop thinking about it. Ugh…this sucks. I haven’t told anyone I am quitting either. I don’t want anyone to be disappointed if I fail. Thinking I might need to start a journal as writing to this post has made me feel better. Wish me luck!

  16. Thanks, friends. This is my third day, as I resolved to quit for Lent this time. The worst thing for me is that the cigarettes in the morning and evening were the time i sat with my husband and we shared, over coffee, the day, whatever. Every time I’ve tried to quit before, he has not helped me because he doesn’t want to quit. It’s in my face all the time. So separating our time together is one issue. Now today some anger and sadness is setting in. The cravings morning and night have been tough, but I haven’t caved and am determined not to. Cold turkey is the only way I’ve ever done it. Once I quit for 3 months, then had the “just one” – and I was right back where I started. The constipation is really annoying me this time.

  17. I’m on day 3 and find myself extremely emotional. Not just mad but I’m crying mad!! What the heck…. I’m embarrassed but I still don’t want a cigarette. I’m doing the mini patch and I think that has kept my anxiety down somewhat but I just want to get on the other side of this. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me but I just want to hurry this along. The days and nights are brutally long. Now I worry that once I stop doing the patch, will I go through additional withdrawals….
    I think I will stop the patches after 7-days and see what happens. If it is too soon, I will continue until more time has passed. I’m very determined to succeed this time. I can do this! To those who are equally determined, hang in there….

  18. On day 33
    Dizziness fatigue insomnia sadness and eating like mad
    Strange body aches anxiety and tingling in my hands and feet had them all
    Still going strong we can do this

  19. On the advice of my Cardiologist, he said at my age, (67) not to go cold turkey. I have high blood pressure. I was a 2-1/2 pk a day chain smoker, and have smoked for 51 years. What is working for me is the e cig. It has been 2 weeks now, and I’m down to 6 real cigs a day and the e cig if insanity rears its ugly head lol. Even quitting this way the withdrawal has been rough. The first week was intense stomach pain and diarrhea that lasted 2 days with a headache. I had occasional nausea and coughing up junk that tasted like it came out of an out house. Week 2 now and back to stomach pain only so far. Hoping it doesn’t go further. I’m going to drop off to 4 or 5 real cigs tomorrow and drop down to the next lower dose e cig. I’m doing this gradually so my body doesn’t go into physical and mental shock. My sister quit this way and so can I 🙂

  20. Hi, I’m on day 5. But I purchased this stuff I seen floating around on facebook called TBX-FREE. I got it from amazon and read all reviews I could. It works tremendously! I do not work for or am affiliated in any way with this company. Just want to help everyone else. Google it. Research it. You won’t be sorry. I have tried everything under the sun. EVERYTHING! I failed everytime with in just hours. This stuff has helped with anxiety, moodiness, cravings, and it’s safe. My husband is also taking it and has not smoked. I had to early spring cleaning my home because Oh my God, the smell!! I have smoked since I was 14 and am 46 and advised to quit for upcoming surgery. I’m so thankful for this product!!

  21. Hi guys I am on day 3 I’m only 20 and been smoking 6 years! This is hard bloody work I’ve been so close to smoking but I can not let myself down!!! The benefits so far are already amazing! My senses such as taste buds are different! Being able to get on the bus smelling good, not like before smoking a fag then getting on wondering how bad u smell hahha!!! Just remember why you are here guys and quitting. The support on this page are amazing thank you and good luck!!!

  22. This timeline and the comments have been very helpful to me.
    I started smoking daily at the age of 14 and that was 42 years ago.
    My first grandchild will be born in May and that finally gave me the willpower I needed.
    I’m at Hour 58 but I know I’ll prevail.
    Thanks to all!

  23. In my experience it depends from person to person, embrace yourself for 4 weeks of withdraw pangs here and there during these coming days, exercise and sleep as much as you can and switch your diet to more vegan and fruits as much as you can.

    The withdraw pangs comes because this is an addiction that people are trying to escape from and when people quit the nicotine and all kind of others toxins that are in cigarettes and they are many that are attacking the brain and the body demanding for their fix so it vary from person to person how long the withdraw pangs are hoovering over them, that´s why its very important to get as much sleep as possible, exercise, mediate, eat fruits and go for vegan recipes in between also if possible.

  24. Day 8, have tightness in the chest already had my heart checked it’s still good. I have smoked for 30 years. How long does the tightness in the chest last

    • The smoking cessation program that I went though said no more than a month usually. Good luck. Some of it could be anxiety too.

  25. Thank you for being here.
    I started 6 days ago when I got the flu, since I couldn’t breath. It’s 26 years with only two quits for 6 months each. The body remembers the addiction. My body is a particular bitch, because it successfully convinces me that I am dying! Every 48 mins, I will sit and pain writhes through my veins and guts like shards of glass, pumping until my heartbeat fades and pressure in my chest And arm!! This body is way to smart, it kinda proves that we are not completely attached or responsible for everything our body does.
    The 6th day.

    • My bones actually hurt for a few days or a week. It took me a bit to connect the two. It passed. Then the constipation set in. Miserable and nothing really helps, I have considered smoking 1 cigarette each morning just to stop that but I hope I keep rejecting that thought.
      I am curious what will come next. I hope nothing but peace and tranquility ! 25 days FREE and praying for 25 more.

  26. I have been smoking for about 6 years, 14 days ago i took the decision that i don’t want to continue with my life as a smoker, and I’ve been smoking free since then. I take it one day at a time and think of all what I’ve been through everytime the craving starts. I can feel that my body is much relaxed, and im looking forward to reaching 1 month. Good luck guys!

  27. It’s been 5 months without smoking still having dizzines and headache. Everytime i wake up in morning i don’t have energy. And my regular BP is 90/60. Not having cravings though. Btw i did cold turkey.

  28. I’ve been cutting down for the past month and finally had my last cigarette yesterday. What is scaring me is the constant chest tightness I’ve had the last several weeks. Is that normal?

  29. im 29 yrs old and i have been smoking for nealy a decade, this is my 1st week nw, the problem is i cant concentrate at work and this realy affects my perfomance,but stll I QUITE,i rather loose my JOB than my lung 🙂

    • This too shall pass, hold on, think of how your lungs are cleaning up. I also quit like 4 weeks back and Ive got this damn cough. I cant imagine having to go breathless all the time. I need my life and my health back. So i urge you NOT TO GIVE UP..

  30. I quit smoking 6 weeks ago, from 40 years of smoking, but I have co-workers that smoke. I am temped to smoke everyday I’m working. I have even slipped and have smoked a half a cig about nice a day on those days. Is it normal to still feel bad after stoping all but a half a cig. I’m still having shortness of breath, heartburn, hot flashes, can’t seem to get passed it. I still need help!

    • I feel ya , As long as you are feeding your cravings, you will not train your mind to move past them. The thought of smoking even half scares me/ I am so terrified that I would go right back to my full smoking amount. I don’t understand. This week has been the worst . I am in my third week smoke free and the first two weeks were a breeze. Now, it feels like I just started trying to quit. I also smoked almost 40 years. I am 52 and I wonder at times if I am doing myself any good to have waited this long to quit.
      I don’t really have shortness of breath, unless I over-do it. I work out regularly and I am sure that getting into that habit has improved my breathing ability so much that it really amazed me when I started. Cardio will help you a great deal with that. Start walking and work your way up with speed and distance. See your dr to make sure that you are healthy enough.
      I never had a lot of problems with hot flashes while going through menopause, now, I am like a total sweat box, day and night/ Hot flashes like mad.
      I need help too. This is making me crazy.

  31. I quit 112/23/2016…why had triple bypass surgery!!! Surprise to me! In good shape but a smoker! Since that hospital stay i have been smoke free. Sure it goes through my head and at times still thinking about smoking….but i look at my scars from my bypass surgery and my mind says no way!!! Hell of a way to decide to quit….but thats reality!!! Wont touch another smoke ever again….my life is too important!!!

  32. Quit cold turkey on 14/1/2017.
    I didn’t get the mood swings, as I believe a had a habit, not an addiction, but I am always reminded of smoking nostalgia, especially as i use the computer a lot and one of my triggers was between events on the computer. I really badly needed a cigarette last night, for no apparent reason. I even got into the car to go buy ‘just one pack’ but thought as I started the car “I don’t need this’, and went back inside.
    the ‘cravings’ or triggers stay with you for life. It’s like any addiction, once you are, you always are.
    I smoked a brand new 2 storey house away (to put it into real world expense terms) THAT is what keeps me Quit.

  33. This is great to read how I’m not alone & get to read everyone else’s struggles & successes. Have nervousness, anxiety, chest pains & it’s only been 3 days. Tried many times and did quit once for 3 months. Went to the dr’s & waiting on test results & hoping it’s not the “C” word. Smoked for 40 years & know the consequences but was hoping for later in life. We can all quit! Keep positive!!

  34. I quit like about 4 weeks back. Ive got this nasty stubborn cough that leaves me trying to catch my breath for a while. I did two courses of antibiotics just to kill this cough or any sorta infection of the lung. The cough is still there, and my throat is so irritable that each time I yawn or try to take a deep breath, i start coughing again or feel like coughing. Anybody experiencing any thing like this. Should I ought to be concerned?

    • Hey. I had this same thing last time I quit. I found it persisted until one day I did some seriously vigorous exercise. I had a massive coughing fit which hurt like hell, felt like my lungs were on fire. However after this I stopped coughing and was fine again.

      I stopped for two years, I’ve been smoking again for ten or eleven. Now on day 3.5 cold turkey and feeling strong.

      The problem for me is the temptation to roll a spliff.

  35. I am on day 5 without a cigarette. I have smoked for 38 years, since I was 12, and never thought I would be able to do it alone. So, I started taking Chantix 12 days ago. It was such an incredible feeling at first, to forget to smoke. Then my quit day came and Wowsa has this been hard. I can’t imagine what it would be like without the meds.
    On one hand I’m thrilled to be smelling things again! Its amazing to really know what an item smells like. I am encouraged by all the positives that I am experiencing!
    On the other hand, I am sure how easily all of this could end. How just lighting one would change all of this. Its like any other addiction you gain some control over, it never goes away. You just have to stay vigilant. I will Always be an addict. I have to approach every day with that knowledge.
    I couldn’t tell you how many times I previously attempted quitting. Countless times, countless failures. This time, there is no going back. This time, I am no longer a smoker. This time, I win.
    Thanks for listening (reading)! Keep up the good fight! We can all do this!

    • Hello, I’m taking Chantix as well for the second time…..the first time I couldn’t bring myself to pick a quit day. I was a 2 pack a day smoker for 17 years…..I picked yesterday as my quit day but had 2…..so I decided not to beat myself up because I would have smoked 30 plus…..so today I figured I would try again. Had 1 so far and that was 8 hours ago. Really struggling right now…..it’s all that I can think about. I guess I thought this would be easier. Part of me wants to get rid of the cigarettes I have left, but the addict in me says keep them just in case. The same one that made sure I always had an extra pack on back up. I think now I’m just rambling, but typing it actually helped. Good luck to all! I will say a prayer for all of you.

  36. I don’t think tobacco or alcohol should be legal.
    I think the penalties for all drug laws including tobacco should be steep.
    This way our children will be far less tempted to smoke if at all.

    End the cycle

  37. Im in day 4. After 18 years of smoking. I smoke a pack per day monday i said enough is enough. Sleepless night is my concern any advice. Lets do it we can do it.

  38. This is my FIRST day… and it’s only 10:12 a.m., but typically I’ve already had 4 cigarettes by now and I would be going out on break for another. I have absolutely no cigarettes and would have to buy a pack if I wanted one, which I have a really strong urge to do so, but I’m really really trying not to. Is it ridiculous that I’m commenting already and it hasn’t even been a full 24 hours? I’ve already snapped at my husband once this morning and feel terrible. I’m trying to tell myself this is normal withdrawal and to stay strong. Reading the comments help. Glad I found this website.

    • I am in day two after 50 years
      First time I made it even one day
      Seems to be easy today
      Have had two nights of not falling to sleep
      Hoping tomorrow will be ok
      I have made up my mind to make it!!

    • My last cigarette was outside the Pulmonology clinic.. I still have my last pack.. I know its there and I fight back not to touch it..

  39. It helps to put things in perspective: Smoking really is an idiotic thing to do in this day in age, and true individual maverick type people (aka the stereotyped “Marlboro man”) don’t smoke. Its the weaker, follower types NOWADAYS who smoke, because anyone under ~35 has had it jammed into our heads since grade school how bad it is for health. And the trade off is so meager, wow…the pro vs con ratio is pure drastic. But I know its stilll hard as I too was a smoker for a couple of years in my mid late 20’s. For me, I had no noticeable withdrawal and didn’t even make a formal plan to quit, just didn’t have them for a couple days cuz I was broke, and then decided to roll with it (where I live a pack costs $12) I’ve been through very real withdrawal from other stuff that makes nicotine seem laughable but I for sure know that others have a different and more intense relationship with tobacco than I did. One last thing: For some reason, AA (alcoholic anon) meetings are typically brimming with smokers and thats always stricken me as an odd as hell marriage. I say be rogue, be individual, be smart, take in all the information at your disposal which is now more than ever before and don’t be a follower. People who started before the mid 70’s or so have an excuse man. The information wasn’t out there like its been Stick to YOUR GUNS. Smoke if you want but really, its kinda pathetic now…there are much better things to smoke than tobacco leaf + 400+ addittive chemicals…

  40. 2 days without now.
    I’m a 32 year long smoker in my 50’s, never more than a pack a day, sometimes only two a day, and rarely, but true at times none in a day. The few times I went without for a week even, guess what? I didn’t die : ) ! But I did go back to my old habits, especially when I didn’t have to account to anyone else, for some reason I just kept smoking. For all the silly reasons we tell ourselves we ‘enjoy’ it.
    Yes nicotine is an addiction, but it’s our brains that make quitting hard or easy. If you’ve read Allen Carr’s book “Easy Way to Quit Smoking” you’ll see why changing our brain makes quitting easier. And he walks us through the ‘how’.
    It’s rather lengthy book, but he has a sense of humor about it too. He was a chain smoker until in his 50’s I think…(and did not start in his youth) anyway, two things that have made my first 2 days actually quite easy is reminding myself of these two things:
    —“Get this clear in your mind: there is absolutely nothing to give up. By that I don’t mean simply that you will be better off as a non-smoker (you’ve known that all your life); nor do I mean that although there is no rational reason why you smoke, you must get some form of pleasure or crutch from it or you wouldn’t do it. What I mean is, there is no genuine pleasure or crutch in smoking. It is just an illusion, like banging your head against a wall to make it pleasant when you stop”
    —“Don’t try not to think about smoking or worry that you are thinking about it constantly. But whenever you do think about it – whether it be today, tomorrow or the rest of your life think, ‘YIPPEE! I’M ANON-SMOKER!’ ”
    I really love that, I do much better NOT trying to fight myself, simply replacing the thought with something wonderful instead. To all of us on this sight, YES, we CAN and Yes we ARE escaping from that little nicotine monster. We can all say “See ya Monster, Buh Bye now…done with ya!”

    • Thank you for these well-thought-out pointers. They sound very clear and useful to me (on day 7) and maybe I should research further this book 🙂

  41. After smoking for over 10 years, i decided to stop smoking. I am on day 3 and i feel my will power slipping through my fingers. i have a cigarette that i walk around with (unlit of course) and i inhale it from time to time just to give me that hand to mouth motion. My biggest test is that i live in the Caribbean and Carnival season is coming up, this is the time to party and have a good time. Does anybody have any advice that they can offer me?

  42. I have been smoking for 27 years. The last year was especially difficult because I had a brother with esophageal cancer and he smokes a pipe from time to time. Talking and seeing him when I could(he lived in another state( was almost crippling for me. to top it off I had a very stressful job and when I lost it, it began a mew chapter for me. My brother unfortunately did not make it through, but I was able to see him more wheT scan I was told I had “several noodles” and one suspicious of lung cancer. It still took me about a month before I finally said good bye to cigarettes. But I did (with the aid of Chantix). Was it difficult OMG Yes!!

    I did not realize all the the withdrawals I would have.. SOB, slight cough, and the burning sensations were awful. Still are. But went to see specialists and everything is ok for now. But its been a whole month!! II feel victorious. Do I crave “Yes I Do”. But somehow I go back and read my CT scan and that is what gives me the strength for NEVER EVER RETURN. That was an addiction that is simply HORRIBLE.

    Good luck to everyone. You have to do this before its too late!!

  43. Thank you all for sharing your stories. Im on my 3rd day cold turkey after 20 years. Man I always told myself and everyone around me im not addicted. But now I see how much I needed this drug. It is so hard with everyday life and a cig would be my comfort. I miss it badly but I know its gonna end my life with alot of pain. Life is so short already…just wish I saw it sooner and just stopped. Best of luck to everyone.

  44. I SMOKED FOR 30 YEARS THEN HAD A STOKE 8 YEARS AGO I WAS IN HOSPITAL FOR 2 WEEKS SO GAVE UP I LASTED 4 YEARS THEN WAS AT A WEDDING AND THOUGHT I’D TRY 1 BIG MISTAKE I WAS HOOKED AGAIN I’M NOW ON DAY 6 OF MY SECOND ATTEMPT ONE PIECE OF ADVICE I’D GIVE IS NEVER TRY 1 AGAIN BECAUSE THAT 1 LEADS TO MORE GOOD LUCK TO EVEYONE REMEMBER I DAY AT A TIME

  45. I’m quitting the second time and I just want to say that if you assimilate nicotine through any type of alternative method (ie, patches, gum, electronic cigarettes) the cravings will keep on coming and it’s very hard to get rid of it. You can try electronic cigs but keep on lowering the concentration of nicotine, until you get to a zero concentration liquid. Don’t ever get nicotine in your system after you manage to quit!

  46. I’m on Day 5 – cold turkey. My 8 year old son is giving me the encouragement I need to quit. He woke up this morning and said: “Day 5, Mom”

  47. Thanks for all the helpful information I am on day 5 and don’t even recognize myself…emotional…edgy..irritable…extreme brain fog…depressed….my get up and go has got up and gone Will push on because I NEVER want to feel like this again…We CAN DO this

  48. PS…having knee replacement surgery May 10… doc is doing nicotine test before surgery… if it is even at .01 he will postpone. Your risks go wAAy up as a smoker. Will not take a chance if the patient is no more serious than that….admire him for that…will keep situations posted

  49. Day 3 today.. Very tough.. All my friends smoke and I still managed to ignore the craving.. No concentration whatsoever.. Today was my first day at work after quitting.. MUST avoid people that stress you.. Exercise one hour a day help let your mind off..
    I used to smoke 2 packs for the past 20 years.. All I can say so long dear friend, you will be missed!!!!

  50. I’m at 15 days and I feel SO sick to my stomach. I just want to vomit. And the heartburn is out of control. But, this will be worth it. I need to follow through with this.

  51. I am on day 16. Many of them have been a struggle for sure.
    I cannot concentrate and feel lost inside myself.
    I wish this process would be more predictable. The longer you go, the easier
    it is. Not true. My anxiety is still as big as it was on day 1.
    Good luck to all. We all want to succeed!

  52. I am on day one, and honestly, I can barely focus on anything besides wanting to smoke. I’m trying, I don’t want to fail.

  53. It’s true that you should never, ever pick up another cigarette. I had quit for over four years after falling pregnant with my daughter until one night I had quite a lot to drink and decided it would be a ‘nice’ thing to do. The rush after that first cigarette in 4 years was incredible. It physically made me happy. Since then I’ve taken up smoking while drinking. Now I also drink more than I should as an excuse to smoke. Even though I go a couple days or so at a time without smoking, the second day usually triggers cravings and headaches. Which is where I am today. Very much regret picking it up again as now I really remember the feeling. Just don’t do it! Good luck to everyone trying to quit!

  54. I amnow on day 6. it has been a struggle but I’ve got it planted in my head to quit. I ve been smoking since I was 18 years old and have tried to quit several times with patches and e-cig to no avail. I now work for a Otolaryngologist (ENT) and seeing these patients being diagnosed with throat cancer is devastating. The time is now. I am so glad to have found this website as it has helped me a lot knowing what to expect in the days/weeks to come. wishing everyone luck

  55. I ended up quitting cold turkey….
    Tried the patch first but….. It was too hard to keep those damn things lit !!!!
    Been 4 weeks and I STILL walk past the smokers circle outside during break just to get a nice deep lung full of second hand smoke !

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