Smoking after quitting is very common. One in six smokers says they or a family member have smoked in the last year.
According to the American Lung Association, there are about 80,000 people in the United States who smoke or have quit smoking.
Quitting smoking is important for your health. It can improve your:
- Heart health
- Lung health
- Energy level
- Ability to think
- Ability to sleep
- Ability to get a good night’s rest
Here’s what you need to know about how long after quitting smoking is it safe to do other things.
What factors affect how long after quitting smoking it’s safe to do other things?
There are many factors that can affect how long after quitting smoking it’s safe to do other things, including:
- How long you’ve been smoking
- How long you’ve been thinking about quitting
- How much of the nicotine in your cigarette you inhale
- How many people you smoke with
- How often you smoke
- How much you’ve smoked
- Whether you’ve had heart disease
- Other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, or diabetes
- Whether you’ve had a respiratory infection
- If you’ve smoked for years
- Whether you’ve ever had depression or another mental health condition
- Whether you’ve been arrested for smoking in public
- How long you’ve been using nicotine patches
- Whether you’ve been using marijuana or other drugs
- If you’ve used street drugs
- If you’ve tried to quit using drugs, but didn’t succeed
- How much you’ve been using other drugs
- How much you’ve used alcohol
- Whether you’ve been using any other drugs
When you quit smoking, your body stops producing nicotine, but you still have some in your body. Your body still needs nicotine for normal brain and lung function.
If you’ve been using nicotine in the same way as you did when you smoked, you need to continue using it. Otherwise, you won’t get rid of the cravings.
If you smoke the same amount of cigarettes you did before quitting, for example, you can continue to use the same amount of nicotine.
If you smoke a lot of cigarettes, you may need to start using nicotine patches to help you quit.
How long after quitting smoking can you still exercise and go to work?
If you smoke, and if you have heart disease, lung disease, or breathing problems, you may have to stop working or exercise. Quitting smoking can help you improve your overall health.
You can still do physical activities, such as:
- Pushing a lawn mower
How long after quitting smoking can you still enjoy other things?
Here are some things you can do, and when it’s safe to do them:
- Do activities that you enjoy, such as playing games or watching a movie
- Stay physically active
- Do things you enjoy, such as going to the movies or sports events
- Take a walk
- Try not to think about smoking
- Have a drink if you want to
- Take an antidepressant, such as citalopram (Celexa), sertraline (Zoloft), or escitalopram (Lexapro)
- Take an anticonvulsant, such as valproate (Depakote) or lamotrigine (Lamictal)
- Take a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Take a cholesterol-lowering drug, such as statins, ezetimibe, or PCSK9 inhibitors
If you smoke and have heart disease, lung disease, or breathing problems, you may have to stop working or exercising. Quitting smoking can help you improve your overall health.
As you get better, you may be able to return to some of these activities, or you may need to limit yourself to the activities that are safe. For example, you may have to stop going to work or stopping working.
What else can cause symptoms of nicotine withdrawal?
Nicotine withdrawal can cause:
- Mood swings
- Sleep problems
- Difficulty concentrating
If you quit smoking, you may experience some of these symptoms as you get used to not having nicotine.
Also, you may notice that you have some of these symptoms after you quit smoking.
These symptoms may be caused by nicotine withdrawal. It’s important to know how to recognize and treat nicotine withdrawal.
How long after quitting smoking can you still use nicotine patches?
Nicotine patches can be used until you have a craving for cigarettes.
When should you see a doctor?
If you have any of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, a doctor can help. They can make sure you’re getting the best possible treatment.
If you have heart disease, lung disease, or breathing problems, a doctor may prescribe medicine to help you quit smoking.
A doctor can also help you manage withdrawal symptoms. If you need help with withdrawal symptoms, talk to a doctor.
They can help you get the best treatment for nicotine withdrawal.
What if you miss a day?
If you miss a day, it’s important to try to make up the lost day.
It’s important to understand that you can’t use nicotine patches or any other nicotine replacement products if you’ve used them before. This means you can’t use nicotine patches after you used nicotine replacement products.
You may need to use them for a few days after you quit using them. Depending on the medicines you’re taking and your doctor’s recommendation, you may need to use them for a few weeks.
What if you take medicine?
Some medicines can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor before using any medicine.
Some medicines can affect the way your body processes nicotine.
What is the takeaway?
Nicotine withdrawal can cause symptoms that make it difficult to function. Your symptoms depend on how long you’ve been smoking and the medicines you’re taking.
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