A Survival Guide for Nicotine Withdrawal: 7 Tips for Weathering the Storm
Nicotine holds millions of Americans in its addictive clutch. The toxic substance is known to cause life-threatening conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and respiratory failure. Plus, nicotine has mind-altering consequences that range from uncontrollable cravings to disruption of sleep.
Despite the dangers, the addictive qualities of nicotine have created an unending supply of loyal consumers. Big tobacco has even succeeded in drawing in a customer base that prefers smokeless nicotine. While chewing tobacco, or dip, is often misconstrued as a safer form of nicotine consumption, adverse effects on the body are much the same as cigarettes. Long-term exposure to an average-sized dip causes tooth decay and, in severe cases, oral cancer, which is why many are looking for healthier alternatives to curb addictive tendencies.
Leaving a toxic nicotine addiction in the past is a challenging process that will test your willpower as cravings pose a persistent obstacle for aspiring quitters, and long-term smokers can experience intense withdrawal. Typical flu-like symptoms like body aches and mild fevers are the body’s natural response to the sudden cessation of nicotine. Additionally, many former-smokers are surprised by the mysterious development of a cough, although this is a sign of healthy healing lungs.
The prospect of withdrawal makes most smokers apprehensive at the thought of quitting, but with the right preparation and self-discipline, you can mitigate and reduce symptoms. Some swear by out-of-the-box methods such as dab rigs like these used to administer doses of nature’s relaxing green leaf and ease nicotine cravings. Others turn to time-tested solutions like routine exercise. Regardless of tried-and-tried crave-curbing methods, each smoker must find their individual path to a nicotine-free future.
Recognize Signs of Urges
Nicotine cravings manifest in more ways than simply daydreaming about a smoke break. By learning to notice signs of an oncoming urge, you can respond quickly and effectively. Look out for bouts of anger or intense hunger, sensations you would usually treat with a cigarette or a dip, and find new ways to curb them.
Idle minds can be dangerous for smokers and dippers in the process of quitting, especially when a powerful craving hits. Fill your time with activities like neighborhood walks, DIY projects, or a new hobby to surround yourself with distractions you can turn to when an urge approaches. You never know—a thousand-piece puzzle or tricky guitar lick may be enough to keep you from lighting up. There’s an entire section of the forums dedicated to keeping your mind distracted. Have you checked out the NON-DIPPING DISCUSSION topics?
Although quitting nicotine takes self-discipline, you should never be afraid to ask for help. After all, that’s what KillTheCan.org is built on! Additionally, reach out to a close family member or trusted friend and see if they’re willing to become your accountability partner. In addition to coming up with creative solutions for curbing cravings, ask your partner to call you out when you’re rationalizing a smoke break or taking a dip.
Avoid Other Smokers and Dippers
A typical plight fresh-faced quitters face is finding a smoke-free environment. Often, smokers surround themselves with fellow nicotine-lovers to avoid judgment and find common ground. To sidestep temptation, ask your close circle to refrain from lighting up around you or remove yourself from areas thick with tobacco smoke.
Flooding your system with exercise-induced serotonin can ease withdrawal symptoms like mood swings and fatigue. Regular physical activity will also improve your sleep, allowing you to wake up refreshed and fight the urge to light-up.
If you start to feel the need for nicotine when you are a few drinks in, consider forgoing alcohol during the beginning phases of your nicotine-less life. Parties or coffeeshop patios can quickly provoke an insatiable craving for a cigarette, so set yourself for success by avoiding triggering situations. If you can’t evade your usual triggers, prepare for urges ahead of time and come equipped with a patch or chewing gum.
Celebrate the Small Things
Quitting nicotine is no small feat, and some smokers may have to repeat the process several times before succeeding. Be patient and kind to yourself by celebrating a smoke-free day or week, throw yourself a party with each small milestone. After all – you deserve to celebrate your new-found health.
Nicotine is a dangerously addictive habit that takes serious determination to break. With the right knowledge and resources, you will weather the storm of withdrawal and emerge a healthier and happier person.
It will be 8 years this March (2021) since I quit, cold turkey after 30+ years of using Copenhagen. Its amazing that, even now, I still have ‘chewing dreams’ and the occasional sudden craving for a dip. While they are fewer now than before, they still happen, so I still have to maintain a strong discipline. Nicotine is a nasty, evil substance – but one that you all can overcome. With some support, a bit of discomfort and a true desire to quit, you CAN kick this monster’s ass, as I did. I won’t lie, its a tough go, but hang in there, DON’T give up and continue to fight the good fight – you (and those that love you) deserve nothing less.
8 mos free after 35+ years dipping. Took a minor stroke and time on my back in the hospital to quit. Been tobaco free since June 2 2020. I almost lapsed a few times but I kept to it.
Congratulations Oliver! Awesome start to you quit, regardless of the reason you finally got going!
Hang in there – stay strong. 8 months free from this garbage is a HUGE accomplishment. Sorry to hear about the minor stroke – and I hope you’re on the mend. As for quitting – stay the course and lean on this site for support and inspiration (I can’t tell you how much time I spent on this site when I first quit!).