Monmouth County's Ask the Doctor - Winter 2023

By, Lauren Kowlacki Because the nicotine in tobacco is highly addictive, people who quit may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms, es pecially if they have smoked or used other tobacco products heavily for many years. Although many of the examples in this fact sheet refer to smoking, the tips are relevant for those who are quitting the use of any tobacco product. Common nicotine withdrawal symptoms include: • nicotine cravings • anger, frustration, and irritability • difficulty concentrating • insomnia • restlessness • anxiety • depression • hunger or increased appetite Other, less common nicotine withdrawal symptoms include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, coughing, mouth ulcers, and constipa tion. The good news is that there is much you can do to reduce nicotine cravings and manage common withdrawal symptoms. Also, it may help to know that nicotine withdrawal symptoms do subside over time. They are usually worst during the first week after quitting, peaking during the first 3 days. From that point on, the intensity of symptoms usually drops over the first month. However, everyone is different, and some people have withdrawal symptoms for several months after quitting. What can I do about nicotine cravings after I quit? People who use tobacco products get used to having a certain level of nicotine in their body. After you quit, cravings develop when your body wants nicotine. This may occur long after your body is no longer addicted to nicotine. In addition to this physical craving, you may experience a psychological craving to use a tobacco product when you see people smoking or are around other triggers. Your mood may change when you have cravings, and your heart rate and blood pressure may go up. The urge to smoke will come and go. You may start experiencing cravings within an hour or two after your last use of tobacco, and you may have them frequently for the next few days or weeks. As time passes, the cravings will get farther apart. However, you may have occasional mild cravings months or years after you quit. Here are some tips for managing cravings: 1. Try nicotine replacement products or ask your doctor about other medications. 2. Remind yourself that cravings will pass. 3. Avoid both cravings and situations that you used to associate with using tobacco products. 4. As a substitute for smoking, try chewing on carrots, pickles, apples, celery, sugarless gum, or hard candy. Keeping your mouth busy may stop the psychological need to smoke. 5. Try this exercise: Take a deep breath through your nose and blow out slowly through your mouth. Repeat 10 times. For more information, go online to, a website created by NCI’s Tobacco Control Research Branch, and use the step by step personalized quit plan learn about other tips for managing cravings. Vaping and Electronic Cigarettes What Are Some of the Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms Associated with Quitting Tobacco?




Made with FlippingBook Online newsletter creator