Side effects of quitting smoking due to nicotine withdrawal symptoms

In this article I will explain in simple words as to what are the side effects of quitting smoking due to nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Information about how long such side effects last and what should be done to alleviate them will also be covered in the article to enable the smokers to gain confidence for quitting bad and harmful habit of smoking.


Smoking is a very harmful habit. It affects health adversely in multiple ways. It has to be quit at the earliest possible. Many people decide to quit this habit to lead a healthy and productive life. The risks and side effects of smoking far outweigh the side effects one experiences after quitting smoking due to nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Being aware about the physical and emotional changes the body undergoes after quitting smoking is likely to be advantageous to the smokers in preparing themselves for the final determined decision to quit smoking.

Emotional side effects of quitting smoking

Temporary emotional side effects of quitting smoking are as follows -
  1. Restlessness
  2. Depression
  3. Difficulty in concentration
  4. Anxiety
  5. Irritability
  6. Mood swings
  7. Crankiness
  8. Excitability

Physical side effects of quitting smoking

Nicotine is highly addictive in nature. After quitting smoking the body carves for more nicotine. Depending upon how long one smoked, the withdrawal symptoms will vary. As long as some nicotine remains in the blood stream, the body keeps expecting more. The temporary side effects of quitting smoking due to nicotine withdrawal symptoms are as follows-
  1. Sleep changes - insomnia, vivid dreams, fatigue, drowsiness
  2. Respiratory issues - sinus congestion, cough, phlegm, hoarseness, breathlessness
  3. Skin changes - blemishes, itchiness, hives
  4. Digestion - heartburn, gas, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, constipation
  5. Mouth - soreness, bleeding gums
  6. Circulation - dizziness, stiffness, leg pains, tingly fingers and toes, swelling, bloating, tight waistband

Tips to help deal with physical symptoms

The following are some of the tips to cope with nicotine withdrawal symptoms -
  1. Some activities of short distractions like going for a brisk short walk, playing with a pet, eating a piece of cake or fruit, playing solitaire, making a phone call to a friend, posting some contents on a website like ISC may help
  2. Shelling and eating nuts when there is an urge of smoking may be tried. It involves use of both hands and mouth like in the case of smoking. Chopping fruits, eating carrots or some other healthy snacks may also help
  3. Stress is often a trigger for smoking. Learn and practice 'yoga' or 'meditation' to relax
  4. Create a no smoking zone where you can escape when others are smoking
  5. Changing routine often helps. There are generally some activities which trigger smoking urge. If your first smoking of the day starts with coffee , then try to switch over to tea

Tips to help deal with emotional symptoms

Irritability and anger are common side effects of quitting smoking. Two things can be done to control irritability - to drink as much water as one can and to cut intake of food having high sodium content like soups, pickles, packaged foods any food with visible salt content. Salt makes one to retain water and water retention causes crankiness or irritability. Another cause of anger and irritability is that after quitting smoking one has to deal with issues. The possible solutions are to talk to some one who understands you, reading a good book or finding other ways to release, express or redirect your feelings and emotions.


Smoking tobacco is both a physical addiction and a psychological habit. The nicotine from tobacco provides a temporary and addictive feeling of high to the individual. Quitting smoking requires firm determination. With proper planning and learning about the the side effects one will have to deal with after quitting smoking, one can quit smoking and join the world of lakhs of happy people who have kicked the habit for good and now leading a happy and content life.


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