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What to Expect When You Quit Smoking

So, you’ve made the decision to quit your smoking habit for good! First of all, congratulations—you’ve taken a huge first step. We’re sure you know it isn’t over yet, as quitting smoking is full of challenges. Nicotine withdrawal is very real. While you quit, your body goes through a full-on cleanse after giving up cigarettes, and you can expect some awesome things to happen as well.

Today, we share a few common things people go through after quitting smoking. We’ll outline ways to ease withdrawal symptoms and share some cool things you might not realize are happening behind the scenes. Hopefully, you’ll come out the end of this article much more prepared for your quitting journey.

Cigarette Cravings 101

Everyone gets cravings after they start to quit smoking. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t be so hard! These cravings are both physical and psychological, and it’s important to differentiate between the two types of symptoms in order to find the right ways to get them under control.

Physically, nicotine withdrawal will start to kick in about 1 – 3 days after you quit smoking. This is tricky because your body has adapted to regular nicotine intake. The first 3 – 4 weeks of quitting smoking will most likely involve several cravings, but it’s important to understand that these are nicotine cravings and not cigarette cravings. Knowing the difference can mean you can easily reach for nicotine replacement products like a piece of Habitrol nicotine gum instead of a cigarette.

Psychologically, you will have accumulated a number of places, people, and even things that have become associated with having a cigarette throughout your time as a smoker. These are called triggers because they will trigger the craving for a cigarette by memory association. It’s important to realize that this isn’t a physical craving because that allows it to be much easier for you to control. These triggers may occur for years after you quit, so using methods to gain the mental strength to avoid their effects is beneficial. 

Other Common Side Effects

Nicotine withdrawal is a complicated process. It affects heart rate, sleep cycles, appetite, and even our minds. People commonly notice many different side effects accompanying the craving for nicotine. These include mood swings, anxiety, frustration, and irritability. It’s important to watch out for these and understand they are only temporary.

You’ll be able to notice you’re going through withdrawal because of the physical side effects that happen during this time. They can range from headaches and hot flushes to insomnia, changes in appetite, constipation, and cramps. These usually pass after 3 – 4 weeks, and nicotine replacement therapy can lessen these side effects and make it way easier to go about daily life while getting through them.

Sensory Improvements

The human body is honestly amazing. Within a week of quitting smoking, your body is cleansed of toxic carbon monoxide, and your oxygen levels return to normal. This means the nerve endings damaged while smoking can heal, and you’ll notice your sense of smell and taste have both heightened.

It would be a cool experiment to eat a lemon or smell some flowers both before you quit and a week after you quit smoking. We’re here for noticeable progress, and this step could be a pretty motivating factor on anyone’s journey.

Healthy Heart and Lungs

There are many health benefits to quitting smoking, so many that we’ll save most of them for their own post. What is astounding and worth mentioning is how quickly these health benefits start to occur. The risk of a heart attack decreases after just the first day of quitting, and that cleanse of toxic carbon monoxide we discussed before causes lungs to heal within the first month of quitting.

Heaps of cool things happen to the human body throughout the quit-smoking journey, meaning you can expect to be able to breathe easier, exercise for longer, have better circulation and get sick less.

Be prepared for anything with KEA Health

If you’re looking to quit smoking, the best way to be prepared for any curveballs the journey throws at you is to find a nicotine replacement product that works for you. Whether this is a nicotine lozenge, gum or patch, KEA Health can help. Take our test to find out which NRT is right for you today.

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