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Common Problems with Quitting

You can expect to have some sort of withdrawal symptoms while you are quitting

It is actually a good sign that your body is ridding itself of all the nicotine and other harmful chemicals.

These symptoms usually do not last long. Although symptoms vary from person to person, the most common symptoms are listed below.

Weight Gain

Often people look at weight gain as a deterrent to quitting and a reason to start up again. Some people do gain weight when they quit, but the average gain is only 5 pounds. And remember, it is healthier to have a few extra pounds than to use tobacco. If you are concerned about weight gain, here are a few points to consider:

  • Since your body does not have to deal with all the toxins that are in cigarettes, your metabolism slows down a little and you may gain a little weight.
  • Review your diet and make changes if needed. Look for low-fat or fat-free types of milk, yogurt, and cheese. Avoid fried foods, and be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise. Even walking just 10 minutes a day can help prevent you from adding extra pounds.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Take smaller portions.
  • If you feel like a snack, choose a healthy one like carrots or a piece of fruit.

Withdrawal Symptoms, Causes and Relief

Symptom Cause Duration Relief
Craving for nicotine 2-4 weeks Walks; hot baths; relaxation techniques; nicotine replacement therapy.
Fatigue Nicotine is a stimulant 2-4 weeks Take naps; do not push yourself; nicotine replacement therapy.
Trouble Sleeping
Nicotine affects brain wave function, influences sleep patterns 1 week Avoid coffee, tea, or soda with caffeine after 6pm; relaxation and meditation techniques.
Dry or Sore Throat,
Nasal Drip
Body getting rid of mucus which has blocked airways and restricted breathing A few days Drink plenty of fluids; try cough drops or candy; chew gum.
Dizziness Body is getting extra oxygen 1-2 days Use extra caution; change position slowly.
Lack of
Body needs time to adjust to not having constant stimulation from nicotine A few weeks Plan workload accordingly; avoid additional stress during first few weeks.
Tightness in Chest Probably due to tension created by body's need for nicotine; may be caused by sore muscles from coughing A few days Relaxation and meditation techniques
Constipation, Gas,
Irregularity, Stomach Pain
Intestinal movement decreases for a brief period 1-2 weeks Drink plenty of fluids; add roughage: fruits, vegetables, and whole grain cereals.
Hunger Craving a cigarette can be confused with hunger pang; oral craving, desire for something in mouth Up to several weeks Drink water or low calorie liquids; be prepared with low calorie snacks.
Craving for a Cigarette Withdrawal from nicotine Most frequent first 2-3 days; can happen occasionally for months or years Wait out the urge. Cravings last only a few minutes. Distract yourself. Exercise; go for a walk.

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