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Stop smoking

If you can quit smoking, there are lots of health benefits. Research shows that stamina improves, and there is less chance of contracting conditions such as lung cancer or cardiovascular disease. Quitting smoking is not easy. The nicotine in tobacco has addictive properties, which makes it difficult to stop.

Medically reviewed by G.L. Merkens on December 17, 2018


  • Information

    What constitutes a smoking addiction?

    Some people smoke an occasional cigarette, which does not mean they are addicted. We describe a smoking addiction as being when someone smokes many cigarettes a day, every day. And in addition, this is accompanied by a craving for tobacco.

    What symptoms are experienced when quitting smoking?

    Where there is an addiction, stopping smoking can be difficult, so it’s important to understand that addiction has both a physical and a mental dimension.

    The physical side is the addiction to the nicotine in every cigarette. Nicotine causes nerve stimulation which causes dopamine to be released. That’s what ensures that each cigarette creates a pleasant feeling. So, when you finally quit, you may experience physical symptoms because the pleasure hormone is no longer triggered. These problems, which are often termed withdrawal symptoms, usually disappear after a few weeks.

    The mental side is all about the smoking habit. Especially when not smoking in situations where this used to be normal. For example when drinking a cup of coffee, at a party, or at times of stress. During this phase, the urge to smoke persists longer than any physical symptoms, and counselling, coaching and medication offer a practical solution here.

    What are the side effects?

    Quitting smoking: What happens in the body? Most physical withdrawal symptoms occur in the initial period just after stopping. The first of the quit smoking phases starts immediately.

    The body is free of nicotine after 72 hours, and nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually reach their peak two to three days after smoking the last cigarette.

    It then takes at least three months for the brain chemistry to return to normal. In addition, it is quite common to experience physical sensations which do not normally occur.

    However, after three to five weeks, these symptoms slowly subside. The following quit smoking withdrawal symptoms can occur:

    • Stress and restlessness
    • Irritability
    • Insomnia
    • Concentration problems
    • Sweating
    • Headaches
    • Gastrointestinal complaints
    • Tremors in the hands and feet
    • An increased appetite
    • Chills

    Of course, not everyone has the same experience, so the intensity of these symptoms will vary according to the individual.

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