What to Know Before You Quit
When someone smokes, nicotine is delivered very quickly to the brain. <It takes only 7 seconds or 5 heart beats.> Most people who smoke become dependent on nicotine. Quitting smoking deprives the body and brain of nicotine. This leads to nicotine withdrawal.
Nicotine withdrawal includes physiological symptoms like headaches, grouchiness, or difficulty sleeping. It also includes emotional and mental reactions ranging from sadness and stress, to happiness and relief.
Withdrawal symptoms begin about 6 hours after quitting. They peak about a week later. Then, the body adjusts to the absence of nicotine, and withdrawal symptoms decrease. It usually takes 2-4 weeks for nicotine withdrawal symptoms to disappear completely, but it can take longer. Withdrawal symptoms are signs that the body & brain are recovering.
Nicotine cravings are different from withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms go away after 2-4 weeks. But nicotine cravings can last a lot longer. In fact, they can continue long after the withdrawal phase has passed.
Dealing with Nicotine Cravings and Withdrawal Symptoms
Everyone experiences nicotine withdrawal differently. Some people who quit experience really strong cravings for nicotine. Others have hardly any cravings. <Lucky them.> What's important to remember is that ALL withdrawal symptoms will disappear, and cravings for nicotine will eventually fade away.