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Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms After Quitting Smoking

Updated on July 16, 2019
tiffany delite profile image

I began smoking when I was 17 in the parking lot of the Southgate 4 theater in Liberal, KS. Now, I'll never quit quitting until it's done!

Nicotine withdrawals kicked my butt!

I am writing and publishing this article the day after the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout that took place on Thursday, November 18, 2010. After all the promoting I did and the awareness and excitement that I created regarding the Great American Smokeout there was nothing exciting about the day when it finally arrived because the nicotine withdrawal symptoms kicked my butt.

The last Great American Smokeout that I participated in was in November 2006, and at that time, I smoked around a pack a day of Newports. For those who don't know, Newports are could possibly be the strongest and most destructive (and for sure one of the most expensive) menthol cigarettes you can smoke. While I remember that experience being very uncomfortable, I don't vividly remember the withdrawal symptoms that I must have experienced at that time; however, I do still vividly remember what I experienced and observed yesterday. My oh my, was it ever uncomfortable!

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The First 24 Hours of Nicotine Withdrawal

  • Time Stands Still - I was talking to a girlfriend and fellow Great American Smokeout participant on the telephone the morning of, and I asked her what time it was. She replied, "7:56". We went on talking about different things for quite some time, and after a bit I told her that I should probably stop wasting time on the phone and get to moving around and handling my daily business. Again, I asked her what time it was. She replied, "8:01". We both kinda giggled because only five minutes had passed. I figured that I could talk a bit longer since it was still so early, so we continued on talking for quite some time more. Finally, I mentioned that I really should get to moving around now because the day must be wasting away. "Sure is", she said, "it's now 8:06". Oh my! We howled over that one, but it seemed to hold true for the rest of the day. By about 8:00pm, I was pretty sure the Great American Smokeout had lasted a week instead of only a day!
  • Tingly Mouth and Face - My mouth and face felt "tingly" pretty much all day long. I think this was the most uncomfortable part of the day for me all together. It is hard to concentrate on anything else when your mouth and face is telling you - very loudly - to give it a cigarette!

  • Headache - I started getting a headache early on in the day. I quickly took an Aleve, which seemed to take care of the headache for the rest of the day.
  • Shakes - I didn't personally experience shakes, but I observed them in my brother. His hands were shaking more and more as the day went on.
  • Irratibility - The irritability factor started out mild in the morning and progressed as the day went on. By the time evening time arrived, I was highly irritable. I excused myself and went to bed early that evening.
  • Profuse sweating - During the day, I had several stretches of time where I was profusely sweating even though I was dressed comfortably in shorts and a tank top. My hair was up off of my neck, and the temperature was not such that I should have been sweating like I did. My girlfriend said that she experienced the same thing, and she is very tiny and usually always cold!
  • Chills - There were several times throughout the day (when I wasn't sweating) that I caught a severe flu-like chill.

The Next 24 Hours of Nicotine Withdrawal

By the end of the Great American Smokeout, all of my closest supporters, cheerleaders, and fellow participants had picked the cigarettes back up. I am pretty sure that we would all agree that quitting smoking is one of the most uncomfortable experiences any of us have ever had in our lives - and we are all 30+ with a large variety of uncomfortable experiences under our belts. I am so proud of all of them - and thankful - for their participation and support, but at the same time, I was so disappointed and discouraged to have to continue this trek on my own. Here is what I experienced in the next 24 hours:

  • Tingly mouth and face - I am not sure how else to describe this sensation. It is like my entire face and mouth is just begging and screaming for a cigarette. While the "tingles" are not as "tingly" in the "next 24 hours", they are still there and are still quite annoying and rather impossible to ignore.
  • Healing and Recovery - I can already tell that I am breathing better in less than 48 hours! The chronic sore throat that has plagued me for the past few months is already gone! I can already smell (and taste) things better, and the odor of my body and hair has drastically improved! My sinuses already feel like they are clearing up!
  • Unbelievable Psychological Warfare - The "next 24 hours" have been filled with unbelievable psychological warfare. While the physical symptoms do still exist, they are rapidly fading, and my body already feels better. The hardest thing to control and ignore is what is going on in my own head! I do not ever remember reading or hearing about anyone sobbing uncontrollably after quitting smoking. However, about 35 hours into my quitting smoking adventure, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of sadness, and I began sobbing uncontrollably. I was out job hunting, and I had to pull the car over because I could not even see to drive. While sitting on the side of the road sobbing, I was screaming (curse words) and pounding my steering wheel wishing all of this "stuff" would just go away. Three hours later, still sobbing, I regret to report that I smoked the first cigarette I had smoked in 38 hours! At the time of publishing this hub, I had smoked one more in addition to that.

Fiercely Fighting Nicotine Addiction and Withdrawal

So, I went 38 long excruciating hours without smoking...and then I smoked...twice. So, what now? Do I keep smoking? Do I give up trying to quit smoking? Um, NO! I will cry, cry some more, regroup, and try again. I WILL quit smoking because I want to feel better, I want to smell better, I don't want to take any more years from my own life, and because somewhere inside of me is the will and strength to quit! I WILL find that place in my mind where I can conquer this horrible, nasty addiction.

Blessings to all of my supporters who are cheering me on my quitting smoking journey. To all of you who have already found the will to quit smoking, I admire you so much...please say a prayer for me! YES, I CAN AND I WILL QUIT SMOKING!

When the Nicotine Addiction and Smoking Habit (Temporarily) Wins

Never Quit Quitting Smoking!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2010 Tiffany Delite


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