Quitting Smoking: Is Dizziness Just Normal?

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

Some smokers would feel slightly dizzy for a few hours after quitting. Though it’s not that bad that you’ll faint, but it might be a little frightening. It can be associated to smoking cessation but there can be a number of reasons that may cause dizziness, or the shaky feelings when you stop smoking.

Business Woman Stress And HeadacheYou need to understand that nicotine is a stimulant. It boosts your body’s functions. When a person smokes, nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. It reaches the brain within seconds. And once in the brain, nicotine causes the release of adrenaline. As a result the smoker experiences faster heartbeat and high blood pressure.

Also, carbon monoxide from tobacco smoke affects the proper flow of oxygen in the body, especially in the brain.

When you quit smoking, there is no nicotine to trigger the release of adrenaline, your heartbeat and blood pressure drops to normal, and the oxygen level in your blood returns to normal. You may have read that this phenomenon may cause dizziness to newly quit smokers, but up to date, there is no conclusive study to confirm this.

Some Other Possible Reasons

Some smoking cessation aids can cause dizziness.



  • Nicotine patches. This nicotine replacement therapy comes in a clear or tan bandage. It is the only NRT that has dizziness as a common side effect. However, all NRTs contain nicotine, and nicotine overdose may cause dizziness. It is essential that you religiously follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Consult your doctor if you experience severe or prolonged dizziness while using any smoking cessation aids or products.

Effects of nicotine in your blood sugar.

Aside from the stimulating effects of nicotine, it also prevents the secretion of insulin, a hormone that is responsible for removing excess sugar in the blood – it maintains the balance of sugar in your body.

Because of the harmful effects of nicotine to the pancreas, smokers are slightly hyperglycemic, a condition where the sugar level in the blood is higher than the normal. When you quit, your body experiences hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Moderate hypoglycemia can cause dizziness.


Eating regular meals on time and healthy snacking helps lessen the risk of hypoglycemia. If you experience feeling a little shaky or lightheaded when hungry, drink a tall glass of fresh fruit juice to quickly increase your blood sugar. Avoid processed sugars as much as you can as it can trigger smoking and can quickly add extra pounds on your weight.

Dehydration can cause light-headed feelings.

Dehydration is common especially during the early weeks of smoking cessation. It is important that you keep your body hydrated. Dehydration can cause lightheadedness. Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Also, drinking lots of water helps lessen the effects of nicotine withdrawal and busts cravings.

The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal are intense, but all are temporary. It only prepares you for the better life ahead. Once the toxins are flushed out of your system, things will be a lot better for you. Live healthy – stay nicotine-free.


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