Quitting – Help Your Body Adjust to Life Without Tobacco

The Great American Smokeout – Nov. 21, 2002

Stopping smoking is hands-down the best thing you can do for your health, but in order for your body to return to its pre-smoking state, it will need time to clean out toxins left by cigarettes. You may experience some discomfort at first, such as feeling nervous, irritable, or tired. These symptoms are only temporary and are actually a good sign that soon you will be back to your natural healthy self. Here are some suggestions to help you cope during the first few days.

Be patient

Your body is flushing hundreds of toxic chemicals from your system. It’s natural not to feel well at first. Remember: you will feel much better soon!

Eat well

Some people experience constipation without a nicotine jolt. Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and high-fiber foods like bran to keep you moving.


Taking time each day to relax will ease tension, soothe cravings, and create a greater sense of well-being. Relaxing activities may include taking a walk, talking with a friend, reading a favorite book, being outside in nature, or watching a funny movie. Meditation and guided visualizations are also powerful tools to settle your mind and encourage relaxation. Most libraries and bookstores offer excellent books and audiotapes about meditation and relaxation.


You may feel tired for a few days. Allow yourself a little extra sleep at night, or take a brief nap during the day. You’ve earned it!

Drink lots of water

Water helps flush out toxins left by cigarettes and prevents constipation. Avoid alcohol, coffee, and colas as they increase cravings for cigarettes.


Studies show that people who exercise have much higher quit rates than those who do not stay active. Exercise helps you relax and sleep better at night. It also prevents weight-gain and keeps your mind off cigarettes. Whatever exercise you enjoy doing regularly will be helpful. If you haven’t exercised in a while, take it slowly. Perhaps you could invite a friend for a walk, enroll in a yoga class, or visit a gym or fitness center to create an exercise program.


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