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Understanding Nicotine Withdrawal

Do you know how many hits of nicotine the average smoker can look forward to in a single day?

The answer may surprise you.

Girl holding a vape

If we think of the average cigarette as requiring around 20 drags to smoke from tip to butt, a smoker with a twenty-per-day habit can expect to receive around 200 hits of nicotine per day.

That’s 1,400 per week. Per year, we’re talking over 70,000 nicotine hits.

This perhaps goes some way to explaining why so many people find it so hard to quit - it’s no small thing to go from 72,800 annual nicotine doses to zero.

Aside from the nicotine - which for those who are still learning about the topic is the addictive part of the cigarette - there is also the fact that you won’t be physically holding anything anymore and you won’t be putting anything in your mouth.

These mannerisms can be hard to shake; especially if you’ve been a heavy smoker for many years.

That’s why many people turn to vaping (see a range of vape liquids from 88vape, for example).

What are the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal?

When you begin smoking, your body begins to increase the number of nicotine receptors in the brain.

The problem is that these receptors continue to send signals to the brain requesting more nicotine throughout the quitting period - this is where the cravings come from.

Over time (see below) the receptors will begin to make the necessary adjustments to your new nicotine-free lifestyle.

Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include:

You may suffer headaches

An inability to concentrate is often reported

Food cravings and weight gain are common

Irritability can become an issue, even if non-stressful situations

Mounting cravings for nicotine (which your brain will express through a need to smoke)

How long will my symptoms of nicotine withdrawal last?

Regardless of what you may hear from friends and family about their particular struggles with quitting smoking, there are some stark facts and figures that we all live by.

For a start, it only takes 72 hours for the nicotine to leave your system. This is the peak period for cravings. 

After this point, things start to become a little easier, and easier, and easier still, until somewhere around the 8-12 weeks mark you will eventually have no cravings at all.

Let’s break that down into a simple to-read pair of bullet-point facts:

1 week - most people begin to feel noticeably better with fewer cravings

3 months - cravings have subsided almost completely (if not entirely)

Staying committed to quitting for good isn’t always easy, but when you only have to face the music for 8-12 weeks, you can take comfort in the fact that the cravings won’t last forever.

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