Beyond nicotine withdrawal: The rest of your life

Smoking? What smoking? You've nailed it, conquered the withdrawal symptoms and emerged triumphant and smoke-free. You now have a much healthier future to look forward to.1

And it's okay if you're not quite there yet. If you're still getting ready to quit, it's worth knowing how the rest of your life can be — smoke-free.

Let’s look at what the rest of your life holds once you are smoke-free.

Step 3: The rest of your life.

  • Time +5 weeks. The intense withdrawal symptoms, the emotional rollercoaster, the physical pain in the gut have all passed.2
  • Time +3 months. A few months after quitting, most people feel as good – or even better – than they ever felt when they smoked.3 Congratulations, you made it!
  • Time +forever. Stay strong. Even though you’ve made it through the tough part, you might find that you are still tempted to smoke4, especially during times of stress. Do your best to resist.

So, what might you expect to happen from here?

The temptation. Even once you beat the withdrawal symptoms, you might find there are certain things that tempt you back into smoking. These ‘triggers’ can be moods, feelings, places, people or things that remind you of how you felt when you smoked. You might feel tempted when you are around other smokers, when you are feeling stressed, when you have an alcoholic drink, or any number of everyday things that you associate with smoking. So it’s important that you know and recognise these triggers so they don’t take you by surprise. If you are prepared for them, you will more likely to firmly say no to that temptation.4

Just a little slip. Relapses can happen even after you have been smoke free for years.5 So when you are happy, healthy and completely smoke free, you should still be aware of situations that might tempt you, and to be prepared to resist the urge.

If you do slip-up, don’t be disheartened or tough on yourself. You’re not alone. A recent study found smokers might need as many as 30 quit attempts before they finally succeed.6 Just remember the reasons why you wanted to quit in the first place, and how much better you felt smoke-free. Then take back the control and move forward with your mission to be smoke-free.

Even once the withdrawal symptoms have passed, the temptation to smoke might still rear its ugly head now and again.4 So, remember, as long as you are prepared, you will in a better position to resist any temptation that comes your way now – and for the rest of your life.

©Pfizer 2019. Pfizer Australia Pty Limited. Pfizer Medical Information: 1800 675 229. Sydney, Australia. PP-CHM-AUS-1003 09/2019
References
  1. Australian Government. Benefits of quitting. Available at http://www.quitnow.gov.au/internet/quitnow/publishing.nsf/Content/benefits-of-quitting. Accessed 14 September 2019.
  2. Medical News Today. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms and how to cope. Available at  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323012.php  Accessed 15 October 2019.
  3. Department of Health. HealthyWA. Withdrawal symptoms and quitting smoking. Available at http://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/U_Z/Withdrawal-symptoms-and-quitting-smoking. Accessed 14 September 2019.
  4. National Cancer Institute. How to handle withdrawal symptoms and triggers when you decide to quit smoking. Available at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/withdrawal-fact-sheet#q3. Accessed 14 September 2019.
  5. Healthline. Coping with smoking relapse. Available at http://www.healthline.com/health/copd/smoking-relapse. Accessed 14 September 2019.
  6. Chaiton, M., Diemert, L., Cohen, J., Bondy, S., Selby, P., Philipneri, A. and Schwartz, R. (2016). Estimating the number of quit attempts it takes to quit smoking successfully in a longitudinal cohort of smokers. BMJ Open, 6(6), p.e011045.