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What To Expect When Giving Up Smoking

Published : Friday August 26, 2011 | Posted in : General Health
Feet on weighing scales

Quitting smoking can seem like a daunting task. It is well known that only a small percentage of people who choose to give up smoking actually do so permanently. To raise your chances of being one of the successful ones, you should make sure you are prepared for the challenge ahead. If you know what to expect, you will be more likely to surmount the obstacles.

Timeline of health benefits when giving up smoking

Giving up smoking timeline


One of the biggest hurdles to giving up smoking is the intense nicotine cravings you will experience, especially soon after you have your last cigarette. Nicotine cravings peak at three to five minutes, and will then pass. You will experience these most frequently during the first week after quitting smoking, and the desire will weaken after four to six weeks. You can fight the cravings by distracting yourself with another activity or using nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum. You might also consider a prescription medication to help lessen the withdrawal symptoms of giving up smoking.

The first week of giving up smoking

The immediate period after giving up smoking is usually the most difficult. You may experience symptoms including irritability, hunger, anxiety, dizziness, headaches and changes to your sleep patterns. The duration of these symptoms changes from person to person. You may feel more sad than you normally would while giving up smoking. If you feel you cannot cope with this sadness, you should seek professional help.

Weight gain

A common fear among those who are giving up smoking is that of gaining weight. Those who are quitting smoking usually put on an average of 5 to 10lbs. This is usually because people sometimes use food as a distraction from cravings. You should also be wary of doing this if you are an emotional eater. Make sure that you are eating sensibly and remaining active while quitting smoking. If you are using food as a distraction, make sure you are eating low calorie snacks such as fruit and vegetables. You should also make sure you are drinking a lot of water.

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