The Reality of Quitting: Overcoming Obstacles

Quitting is hard, but support from your family, friends, and health care provider can help you through the quitting process. You will crave cigarettes, but the craving will pass. Learning your triggers and finding strategies to cope with your triggers increases your chance of success. The longer you refrain from smoking, the weaker your cravings will become.

You will experience nicotine withdrawal, it will be uncomfortable, but it will not be painful, and it will pass. Nicotine withdrawal is not dangerous. Symptoms may begin within a few hours after the last cigarette, and include:

• Sleep disturbance
• Increased appetite
• Irritability
• Cognitive and attentional deficits
• Headache
• Nausea
• Constipation or diarrhea
• Anxiety
• Anger
• Frustration
• Restlessness
• Depressed mood

Symptoms generally peak within the first few days and may subside within a few weeks, though for some people, they may persist for months or longer. There are resources and nicotine replacement therapies that can help reduce your withdrawal symptoms, talk to your health care provider about medications that may be right for you. 

You may gain some weight, and that is a normal part of the quitting process. Exercising and healthy eating can reduce weight gain and optimize your health throughout the process, and after. 

Smoking has become part of your life and your daily activities. You were not always a smoker and you did your daily routine without cigarettes, you can learn how to live your life without cigarettes again! This is a hard process, however, the benefits of quitting increases every day. [23, B]