Managing withdrawal symptoms after quitting smoking

Nicotine withdrawal is common during the first two weeks of being smoke-free. Here's what to expect and what you can do about it.

Withdrawal symptoms and tips on how to manage them

Having strong cravings
Cravings last only about 3 to 5 minutes, so find ways to distract yourself until it passes. Go for a walk, drink some water or contact a friend for support. Use an NRT like the gum or patches to reduce the frequency and intensity.
Feeling anxious or on edge
This is a common symptom that usually passes within the first two weeks of your quit as your body adjusts to life without nicotine. Try deep breathing, relaxation exercises, going for a walk and reducing caffeine consumption.
Feeling irritable or grumpy
This is normal during the first few weeks of your quit. Be patient with yourself and warn your friends and family. Try doing activities you enjoy to lift your spirits.
Having fatigue and trouble sleeping
Withdrawal from nicotine can interfere with sleep. It can take 2-4 weeks for your energy levels to go back to normal as your body adjusts, so try to rest more and do exercise to raise your energy level.
Having difficulty concentrating
You may feel foggy or have difficulty focusing for the first few weeks of your quit. Eat small amounts of food every few hours to maintain your blood sugar levels and try some yoga to increase oxygen to the brain.
Feeling depressed or sad
Feelings of sadness or depression is normal after quitting. Talking to a friend, family member or seeking support from our community can help. Exercise is also beneficial. If depression lasts for more than a month, consult your doctor.
Feeling hungry or gaining weight
Increased appetite is common after your quit. Instead of eating more, eat smaller amounts more often. Choose healthy snacks such as vegetable sticks, go for more walks, and drink more water.
Having constipation
Constipation and digestive issues are common early in your quit. Increasing fiber in your diet, drinking more water, reducing your caffeine intake and doing moderate exercise will help.