When people use tobacco products on a regular basis, their bodies
develop a need for nicotine. If they don't get nicotine, they start having
nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms and cravings for nicotine vary from person to
person. They often depend on how much nicotine a person is used to getting. The
more nicotine the body is used to, the more severe symptoms are likely to be.
Symptoms of withdrawal include feeling:
Hungrier than usual.
People going through withdrawal may find it hard to:
Cope with cravings.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually begin about 12 hours after a
person quits smoking or using tobacco products. Symptoms are the worst in the first week or so after the person quits. The average length of time a person deals with withdrawal symptoms is 2 to 3 weeks. But for some smokers, withdrawal can last longer. The craving for cigarettes and an increased appetite can last for
Nicotine replacement products can reduce withdrawal symptoms when used by people who are quitting. Use of quit-smoking medicines, counseling or support groups, a nutritious diet, and regular exercise may also help.
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.