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Smoking Cessation Health Center

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Action Set
Quitting Smoking: Coping With Cravings and Withdrawal

It's not easy to quit smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes is addicting. Your body craves it because it makes you feel good.

So when you try to stop smoking, you go through nicotine withdrawal. You feel awful, and you may worry about gaining weight. You get cranky and anxious. It can be hard to sleep.

You're not the only one. Most people feel bad when they try to quit. The hardest part is not reaching for a smoke to feel better. Use the tips in this Actionset to help you cope. The information also applies if you use chew or snuff.

  • Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are at their worst during the first couple of days or so after you quit. They may last a few weeks.
  • Medicines help ease withdrawal symptoms and craving. This can help you feel better and make it more likely that you won't start smoking again.
  • Exercise and healthy eating also may help.

Talk with your doctor

Citations

  1. Taylor AH, et al. (2007). The acute effects of exercise on cigarette cravings, withdrawal symptoms, affect and smoking behaviour: A systematic review. Addiction, 102(4): 534–543.

  2. Talwar A, et al. (2004). Pharmacotherapy of tobacco dependence. Medical Clinics of North America, 88(6): 1528–1529.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
Last RevisedAugust 15, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 15, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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