Stop Smoking Timeline: 7 Tips on Your First Week

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

Quitting smoking is difficult at first due to the intense withdrawal symptoms that you may experience during your first days and week. But as the days go by, everything becomes easier and your cigarette craving will begin to wane until you no longer experience it.

The first week of quitting smoking is often the most critical because if you slip, you have to begin all over again and combat the debilitating withdrawal symptoms for another round. Aside from the physical symptoms like headache, nausea, upset stomach, and dizziness, you may also go through the psychological symptoms which include irritability, anxiety and stress. With the following tips however, your first week of quitting smoking becomes easier and more tolerable.

Drink plenty of fluid.


Avoid drinking soft drinks and commercially processed beverages as they can increase your urge to smoke. Instead, drink more water. You can also have some tea and other natural fruit juices. These beverages contain essential enzymes that help repair the damage caused by cigarette smoking.

Exercise regularly.

Exercising has been clinically proven to help alleviate smoking craving. Signing up for a gym membership or having a workout buddy is a great way to make exercising more fun and less daunting. Other forms of physical activity are gardening, doing household chores, swimming, and playing sport.

Keep your stress level low.


The thing you want to avoid, as much as possible, is to get severely stressed. Too much stress can aggravate your craving for cigarettes. So take some time to chill and unwind. Go to the spa, invite a friend to shop with you, dine out with your significant other, watch a movie, or engage in an activity you find enjoyable.

Get enough sleep.

Make sure you’re getting at least 7 hours of deep sleep. You need it to combat stress, keep your mood in good condition, and replenish your energy. Remember, your first week of quitting smoking can be truly exhausting. You want to make sure you have enough energy to face the challenges.


Avoid sugary and fatty foods.

Studies show that foods high in fats and sugar make cigarette craving more intense while fruits and vegetables make the taste of tobacco bitter. So instead of a large candy bar, you may want to munch on fresh carrots, cucumbers, broccoli, and your other favorite healthy foods.

Be mindful.

New research shows that mindfulness training can help reduce nicotine craving. Practicing this ancient therapeutic technique is easy. Instead of diverting your attention or shaking away the thought of lighting up, you want to feel and become ‘aware’ of the sensations your body feels about cigarette craving. You may feel discomfort at first but in a little while, the craving will go away. And the next time you experience it, the craving is less intense than the previous.

Take medications.

There are medications, such as Chantix, that are clinically proven to combat the undesirable symptoms of quitting smoking. These drugs work by blocking nicotine receptors in the brain, making smoking less pleasurable.

As the weeks pass, quitting smoking gets lighter and more achievable. But remember. This is just the start. The real challenge is to stay cigarette-free for good. You may need extra effort to do this but with the right determination, you can get through it!


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