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How Long does Nicotine Withdrawal Last? | Primary Purpose Behavioral Health

Nicotine withdrawal can last for several months, and is most severe for the weeks following quitting smoking or vaping.


Did you know that Nicotine produces cravings and triggers?

In addition to the physical withdrawal symptoms from nicotine, many people experience cravings - and they are strong. Certain habits like driving in the car, waking up, breathing or drinking coffee can trigger you to crave a smoke. There are four types of triggers to watch out for when you are quitting:


  • Emotional: Feelings of stress, anxiety, boredom, or loneliness

  • Pattern: Drinking coffee, driving, drinking alcohol, or after having sex

  • Social: Going to a party or a bar or being around others who smoke

  • Withdrawal: Smelling a cigarette or needing to do something with your hands


how long does nicotine withdrawal last?

What to Expect when you Quit Smoking

In the first 24 hours:

  • You will crave a cigarette

  • Restlessness

  • Feeling sadness or hopelessness

  • Irritability

  • Increased appetite


What to expect between 24 and 72 hours:

  • Headache - this is caused by the last of the nicotine leaving your body

  • Decreased cravings - the nicotine decreases it's hold on you physically

  • Increased anxiety because the nicotine is out of your system


What to expect after 72 hours:

  • You will want a cigarette or vape hit all the time.

  • You will love the smell of cigarette smoke.

  • You will start to smell your home for the first time.

  • You will start to smell your clothes for the first time. It won't be pretty.


What to expect after 1 year:

  • You won't mind the smell of smoke but you don't love it anymore.

  • You smell second-hand smoke on people and its bad.

  • You don't think about smoking as often - but you might still miss it in certain moments.

  • You will start to breathe deeper and easier and cough less. You will.

  • Doctors and friends will start congratulating you.


A person going through nicotine withdrawal might experience irritability and mood changes. While quitting smoking is great for your health, we understand that sober living and recovery are a one-step-at-a-time process. Let's worry about nicotine when everything else is under control. For help getting sober and healthy, reach out to Primary Purpose Behavioral Health in Lexington Kentucky today.

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