It's normal to feel a bit down in the dumps when you first stop smoking. This might start within the first day of your last cigarette and continue for two to four weeks. But those clouds should lift within a month. Here are some tips and tricks that may help you pick up your low mood in the meantime.1,2
1. Be social. You don’t have to be on your own when you stop smoking. Reaching out to supportive friends and family is an important part of going smoke-free.2
2. Stay in the moment. Trying to push away negative emotions may make them worse. So, try to stay in the moment – acknowledge how you’re feeling, accept it and know that it will pass.3
3. Exercise and eat well. Lifestyle changes, such as making sure you get enough exercise and eating a healthy diet, may help you to manage your mood more effectively.4
4. Change your perspective. Keep thinking of all the health benefits of stopping smoking.1 It’s also worth remember that feeling down isn’t permanent, and stopping smoking has actually been show to improve mood in the long term.2
5. Treat yourself. Do little things that you enjoy. Why not take the money you’ve saved from not buying cigarettes and treat yourself to a nice meal with your friends? Or pamper yourself with a massage.2
6. Get some support. Feeling down after stopping smoking should diminish over time and stop after about a month.1 However, if you’re feeling really down, or your mood doesn’t improve after a few weeks, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may be able to refer you to counselling sessions that may assist in improving your mood.2
You're up to four times more likely to succeed in stopping smoking with the help of a healthcare professional compared to stopping unaided – so that's another good reason to see your doctor for support.5
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1. West R and Shiffman S. Fast Facts: Smoking Cessation 2nd Edition. Oxford UK: Health Press Limited; 2007.
2. The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Supporting smoking cessation: A guide for health professionals. 2nd edn. East Melbourne, Vic: RACGP, 2019.
3. Brewer JA, et al. Drug Alcohol Depend 2011; 119(1-2): 72-80.
4. Mendelsohn C. Australian Family Physician 2012; 41: 304-7.
5. West, R. (2012) Stop smoking services: increased chances of quitting. NCSCT Briefing #8. London; National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training.