Coping with Nicotine Withdrawal

Many people have one or more of the following withdrawal symptoms when they stop smoking. These symptoms get better over time and, depending on how much you used to smoke, can last up to 4-6 weeks. Below are tips for dealing with some of the most common symptoms. Using nicotine replacement therapy, like the nicotine patch or gum, or other quit-smoking medications, like bupropion or Chantix®, can also help with withdrawal.

For more tips to help you stay smoke-free, visit our preventing relapse section.

Increased appetite/weight gain
Gaining weight is common after quitting smoking, but the health benefits of quitting far outweigh the health risks of a few extra pounds. Here are some tips for maintaining your weight while quitting smoking: Depressed mood 
You may experience sadness and temporary mild depression when you first quit smoking. In those with a history of depression, more severe withdrawal symptoms may occur. To learn about the signs of depression or where to go for help, please speak with your doctor or visit the Health Department's webpage on depression Insomnia/sleep problems 
  • Relaxation exercises (PDF) Other languages: [En Español] and listening to calming music before bedtime can help you fall asleep.
  • Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon or evening; drink chamomile tea instead.
  • Exercising (PDF) Other languages: [En Español] on a daily basis, at least 5-6 hours before bedtime, helps regulate sleep patterns.
  • Avoid using quit-smoking medications too close to bedtime. Remove the patch in the evening, but remember to put on a new one as soon as you wake up since the morning craving can be the most intense. 
Irritability  Anxiety 
Difficulty concentrating 
  • Take a walk. For a list of group walks near you, visit WalkNYC.
  • Take a break from whatever you're doing.

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