Side Effects of Quitting Smoking

As a smoker, you get used to having nicotine in your body. Nicotine is the main addictive drug in cigarettes. When you quit smoking, you stop putting nicotine in your body. It’s the best thing you can do for your health — but for a while, your body may still want nicotine. It takes time to break free from the addiction.

When you stop smoking, you might feel:

  • Anger or irritability.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.

These feelings are usually worst during the first week after quitting. Everyone is different, though. For some people, these side effects may last a few months. It’s best to be prepared. You can manage these feelings.

What to do about anger, irritability, and anxiety?

After quitting, you may feel on edge or frustrated. You may want to give up on things quickly, or you may be less patient with others. You may have some tight muscles. All of these feelings are common after quitting.

Try these tips:

  • Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth for 10 breaths.
  • Remind yourself these feelings won’t last.
  • Take a walk, or do some other physical activity.
  • Limit your caffeine by drinking less coffee, soda, and tea. Caffeine can make you irritable.
  • Set aside some quiet time each day. Read, meditate, or soak in a hot bath.

What to do about depression?

Some sadness is normal after your last cigarette. For some, especially those who have been depressed before, the feelings can become intense.

Ways to manage depression:

  • Think about how you feel. You may feel sad, but do you also feel tired, bored, lonely, or hungry? Taking care of your other needs will help.
  • Call a friend or special family member. Do something together you both like.
  • Take a walk, or do some other physical activity.
  • Go to the National Institute of Mental Health. There you can learn more about depression and where to go for help.

Your doctor can help you with questions you may have. He or she can also tell you about medicines that may help. Talk with your doctor. You can also call the Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Source: and National Institute of Mental Health