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Nicotine Withdrawal

Nicotine Withdrawal and Helpful Tips to Cope

Nicotine is an addictive drug, which when inhaled reaches the brain faster than drugs that enter the body intravenously. Smokers not only become physically addicted to nicotine, but also link smoking with many social activities, making smoking a very difficult habit to break.
  • Cravings
    Distract yourself. Take deep breaths. Cravings come and go quickly.
  • Irritability
    Count to ten. Slow down. Be patient with yourself.
  • Insomnia
    Avoid beverages with caffeine after noon. Take a walk several hours before bed. If you are using nicotine replacement products, talk to your healthcare provider about dosing and scheduling.
  • Weight Gain
    Some smokers, not all, gain weight after quitting. Nicotine raises the rate at which your body burns calories. When smokers stop, they burn fewer calories. Quitting smoking may make food taste and smell better. Nicotine is an appetite suppressant and without it some quitters tend to eat more, resulting in weight gain.
Weight Management Tips
  • Exercise
    Start slowly if you haven't been active and work up from there. Exercise is good for maintaining your weight, lowering your blood pressure, improving your cholesterol, blood glucose and has the added benefit of releasing endorphins, the feel-good hormone. Walking is a great start.
  • Drink Water
    Water is great craving buster and by keeping well-hydrated, you'll feel better too. If you don't like water try other low calorie drinks.
  • Keep Healthy Snacks Handy
    Put some healthy snacks (carrots sticks, apple slices, air popped pop corn) together ahead of time so that when the urge hits, you can grab something healthy instead of chips and candy!
  • Distract Yourself
    Most urges to eat early in your quit attempt come from the urge to smoke. Distract yourself, drink some water, do something else and wait for the urge to pass.
  • Avoid Empty Calories
    Junk food, such as chips, ice cream, cake and cookies are full of "empty" calories with no nutritional value. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains which will keep you full longer and your blood sugar stable.