Nicotine withdrawal is short but can be quite intense. Withdrawal symptoms usually peak within the first three days of quitting smoking, and on average last about two to four weeks, but this can vary from person to person.
Once you’ve put out your last cigarette, one of the first side effects you’ll notice are cravings. Studies have shown that nicotine withdrawal symptoms can start in as little as an hour after your last cigarette . Cravings are those intense feelings of wanting to smoke, and they’re caused by both your nicotine addiction and your smoking routine.
If smoking in the morning with a coffee or smoking after dinner was something you did every day, those moments can subconsciously make you want to smoke more.
Two hours after your last cigarette, your body has already worked hard to remove around half of the nicotine in your system. Because you’re physically addicted to nicotine, you may experience some physical side effects like sweating, headaches, difficulty sleeping and even flu-like symptoms. But as the levels of nicotine continue to drop in your body over the next few days, these symptoms will keep reducing until all the nicotine has been flushed out.
After the nicotine has completely left your system, all that’s left are the cravings and the habits. These symptoms can last a bit longer than the physical ones because of the routine you’ve built up as a smoker. Breaking those routines and replacing them with healthier habits is a great way to combat those symptoms and help you stay away from cigarettes for good.
Many people find withdrawal symptoms disappear after two to four weeks, although it can take longer for some. Symptoms tend to come and go in that time but remember that they will pass, and you’ll soon feel much better.