Updated 10 February 2013

When will the symptoms stop?


I have not had a smoke in almost 3 weeks now. My question is: when do the symptoms stop. I have headaches, insomnia, morning tightness of chest and a random cough.

It is rather getting to me now. You are supposed to feel better after stopping right?

The first few weeks are recognized as usually being the hardest. The symptoms mentioned may all be experienced as a result of nicotine withdrawal and your body adjusting to being free of tobacco smoke. It's ironic (and unfair!) that many people feel WORSE in the first few weeks after quitting, but keep in mind you are undergoing a serious physical and psychological adjustment, as when freeing yourself from any serious addiction. Please stick with it - you will start to feel better, but it may take longer, even 8-12 weeks, before symptoms abate. In some people, it takes 6 months before they feel quite comfortable as non-smokers.

But have no doubt: you are already much healthier now than 3 weeks ago. That said, it's not a bad idea to check in with your doctor during this withdrawal period and tell him/her about any symptoms that may be bothering you. Occasionally, smoking may mask an underlying condition that only starts to become apparent once you stop.

Post a question to the Stop Smoking Advice forum


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Watch out! »

Gross fungal infections you can pick up at the gym

You go to gym to exercise. But make sure the only thing you pick up is a dumbbell and not one of these gross fungal infections.

Holiday health »

Your 10-step asthma holiday checklist

Don’t let asthma ruin your summer holiday. Whether you are travelling or embracing the summer at home, make sure you plan ahead.