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Smoking is one of the most addictive habits, yet nearly half of Americans who once smoked eventually quit.
While quitting smoking, you may crave cigarettes, be irritable, feel very hungry, cough often, get headaches or have difficulty concentrating. These symptoms of withdrawal occur because your body is used to nicotine, the active addicting agent within cigarettes.
When withdrawal symptoms occur within the first two weeks after quitting, stay in control. Think about your reasons for quitting. Remind yourself that these are signs that your body is healing and getting used to being without cigarettes.
The withdrawal symptoms are only temporary. They are strongest when you first quit but will go away within 10 to 14 days. Remember that withdrawal symptoms are easier to treat than the major diseases that smoking can cause.
You may still have the desire to smoke, since there are many strong associations with smoking. People may associate smoking with specific situations, with a variety of emotions or with certain people in their lives. The best way to overcome these associations is to experience them without smoking.
If you relapse do not lose hope. Seventy-five percent of those who quit smoke again. Most smokers quit three times before they are successful. In fact, your chances of quitting successfully go up with each attempt! So if you relapse, don't give up. Plan ahead and think about what you will do differently next time you get the urge to smoke.
Speak with your physician about quitting smoking. He or she will help you through the process, answer your questions, and give you support. Nicotine replacement therapy is available in various formulations (nicotine patch, gum, and nasal spray) Zyban/bupropion and Champix/varenicline are the most common prescription options to help you quit, but other medications have also been used to assist patients with the quitting process.