5 Weird Side Effects of Quitting Smoking

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weird side effects of quitting smoking

When it comes to quitting smoking, there’s a plethora of information available about the benefits and tips to help you succeed. We hear about the normal side effects and challenges of kicking a nicotine addiction like being a bit irritated or how we just need to keep our hands busy. I’m telling you right now, though, there are some weird side effects of quitting smoking that I was not prepped for.

I’m not going to go into great detail about why you should quit or anything because quite frankly, you already know why you should, and if you’re reading this you may have already searched for weird side effects of quitting smoking, so no need to lecture you.

5 Weird Side Effects of Quitting Smoking

One thing to keep in mind is that my experience may not be your experience. I’ve heard and read of other people having symptoms that I didn’t experience and visa versa. The consensus, though, is that you’ll feel peak shitty-ness around days 2-3 and should be pretty much back to normal by the 2-week mark.

weird side effects on quitting smoking

1. Cold or Flu symptoms.

It’s also referred to as “Quitter’s Flu“. I had classic symptoms like lethargy, aches, pain, cough, sore throat, but the list can be extensive. It doesn’t last too long, though, I felt better after a few days.

2. Sensitive or bleeding gums.

This freaked me out! I had super sensitive gums for weeks after quitting and they bled a lot easier. It’s caused by the increased blood flow to the gums once the nicotine is out of your system.

3. Tingling in the arms and legs.

Again, this is thanks to increased blood flow back to your limbs. It’s unsettling once you start to realize the havoc that smoking was wreaking on your entire body and not just your lungs.

4. Emotional Distress

I expected to be irritated and short tempered but nothing prepared me for the deep emotional upset that happens when you feel like you lost your best friend. It’s so bizarre! I felt… alone? It was almost like the grieving process. I had to remind myself that the cigarette was not my only friend, and was in fact, trying to kill me.

5. Intense, realistic dreams about smoking.

It’s been almost 6 months since I quit and this still happens. I wake up in a panic because I dreamt that I just had a smoke. It sucks for a split second, then I get my bearings about me and realize it was just a dream. That’s usually immediately followed by a wave of relief and I fall back asleep, haha. This is a common “symptom” of kicking any addiction


Something else happened when I quit too, but I wouldn’t classify it as a “weird side-effect”. Freeing myself of the _ gave me an incredible, unreal feeling of self-confidence. I felt, and still feel like I can literally do whatever I decide. I know that sounds cheesy or cliche but it’s the 100% truth. After I realized it was really over, that I was really a non-smoker, I felt fierce and powerful and in control of my body and my life. It was empowering. It was the push I needed to finally change the way I was eating and start exercising more… to take control.

It’s been 164 days since I quit, and will be 6 months in April. Any and all weird symptoms have dissipated and what used to be cravings are now more like thoughts. It’s not a physical discomfort, just a memory, and I’m hella happy about that.

The app I use is called QuitNow. You can get it here. It helped me keep track of the stats related to my quittign experience. I found the visuals helpful and it would notify me of achievements and milestones like “Your blood pressure, pulse rate, and the temperature of your hands and feet are returning to normal” or “Carbon monoxide and oxygen levels are back to normal”. It was a great motivator. 

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3 Comments

  1. One weird side effect from quitting smoking that I’ve experienced is acne. Went from barely having any acne my whole life, to having acne on my cheeks and around my mouth.

  2. Congrats on quitting smoking and good luck on your journey! It sounds like you are doing very well despite the weird quitting side effects! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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