Quit tobacco Timeline
Welcome to the Quit Smoking Side Effects Timeline, a quick reference guide for smokers who want to find out what happens when you quit smoking. This timeline is variable and dependent on an individual’s level of addiction. Some will experience all of the day to day quit smoking symptoms and side effects of nicotine withdrawal, while others may only experience a few.
Please note, if you are looking for a timeline on how the body repairs itself as opposed to stages of withdrawal, please be sure to check out the post, What are the Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking?
It is not unusual for people to experience headaches when they first quit smoking. It is possible that the headaches experienced during nicotine withdrawal are the result of fluctuating serotonin levels. This is also a common symptom of caffeine withdrawal. Again, there are some things you can do to manage the head aches on a day to day basis…
Smokers may experience a tight and uncomfortable feeling in their chest. This just goes away with time. Some ex smokers may also experience sharp pains in the chest, and while this may be normal, it really is a good idea to speak to your doctor and have your lungs checked. Even if only for peace of mind.
Nicotine and tobacco smoking interfere with normal digestive functions. Upon quitting smoking the digestive system undergoes a radical period of healing. Because of this, the digestive functions of your body may become unsettled as they become accustomed to a life without nicotine and tobacco smoke. For many ex smokers, this manifests as constipation…
As the respiratory system heals, smokers will experience cold and flu like symptoms. The day to day symptoms can be headaches, flashes of hot and cold, chest congestion, cough, sore throat and nasal congestion. The smoker will also likely begin coughing up tar…
Nicotine is an appetite suppressant. When nicotine users quit they tend to experience an increase in their appetite. Food, particularly sugary foods, increase dopamine levels and may decrease severity of cravings. There are ways to minimise the weight gain…
7 – 21 Days
The chemical dependency to nicotine is significantly weakened by around days 5-7. However, there is still significant healing required throughout the brain and cravings will still occur, though not as physically intense or long lasting. Many cravings will also be related to emotions and everyday memories that are still associated with smoking. They will begin to weaken over time and ebb and flow in severity.
As the now ex smoker, approaches the 2 week mark, fatigue levels will start to drop. Many ex smokers will begin to experience greater levels of energy.
This should weaken significantly once the chemical dependency is overcome. It may persist in a much milder state, alongside cravings.
This will likely persist in varying degrees of intensity. The ex smoker will likely cough up more tar, more often as the lungs begin to clean out.
3 – 12 Weeks.
Ex Smokers will progressively notice large gaps between cravings. There will likely be a number of spikes in relative intensity during this period, followed by a significant decrease in cravings. By week 6, most ex smokers are well and truly in control as the chemical dependency is well and truly beaten. By 12 weeks, levels of nicotine receptors in the brain should be equal to that of a non smoker and cravings from here on are triggered by habitual behaviors and emotions.
By the 12 week mark, most ex smokers will feel comfortable with their new lifestyle.
3 Months – 24 Months
Cravings progressively weaken to the point of almost being non existent. A six month ex smoker will likely experience very weak urges that add up to seconds per day as opposed to minutes. However, this period is still risky, as the periodic “walls” of cravings may become frustrating. These walls and urges will continue to weaken and by 12 months, most if not all ex smokers will go weeks even months between craves.