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What is nicotine withdrawal?

When you stop smoking, vaping, or both, your body craves nicotine. In the first few days and weeks after stopping, you will likely have some feelings of nicotine withdrawal. It's easier to deal with nicotine withdrawal when you know what to expect.

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What is nicotine withdrawal?

Nicotine is the addictive drug in tobacco or in most vapes. When you quit smoking or vaping you may have nicotine withdrawal symptoms. These are changes in your mood and body that will pass.  

Common nicotine withdrawal symptoms:

  • Urges  or cravings to smoke or vape 

  • Finding it harder to concentrate or feeling restless  

  • Trouble sleeping 

  • Being easily upset, feeling irritable, frustrated, angry  

  • Being anxious or feeling down 

  • Increase in hunger or weight gain.

How long does nicotine withdrawal last?

Everyone’s experience is different. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually begin within a few hours after you last smoked or vaped. They are usually strongest in the first week. For many people, feelings of withdrawal fade and are gone after about 2 to 4 weeks. Chat to your doctor, pharmacist or a Quitline counsellor for support.

How to cope with nicotine withdrawal

  • Quitline can offer you several calls, especially in the first few weeks, to help you stay on track.  

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They can advise if any medications are appropriate to help you manage nicotine withdrawal. 

  • Remember the 4Ds: 

    • Delay acting on the craving for 5 minutes and it will usually pass.  

    • Deep breathe to promote a calm and relaxed feeling.  

    • Drink water to help flush out toxins and chemicals.  

    • Do something else, to distract your mind and body. 

  • Doing some physical activity you enjoy can may help to briefly reduce cravings and nicotine withdrawal.  

  • Use our free Tactics tool for ideas:

Hang in there, you can beat nicotine withdrawal!

Keep reminding yourself of the reasons why you want to stop smoking or vaping. And remember, you don't have to do it alone. Quitline is here to help. Quitline counsellors can offer you free advice and support to help you stop smoking and/or vaping. They will work with you to help you build and keep up your motivation, create a personalised plan that works for you, and provide guidance and encouragement along the way. Quitline counsellors can also support you if you are using vapes to stop smoking. 

There are many ways to get in touch with Quitline 13 7848: 

Please note,this information is for general use only.  Please consult your health professional for further advice.  

If you would like to provide feedback, please contact 

Last updated March 2024 

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