What is the Withdrawal Timeline for Nicotine?

What is the Withdrawal Timeline for Nicotine?

Nicotine withdrawal can be challenging but it is not impossible. Withdrawal symptoms usually begin not long after nicotine is absent from the system and are strongest the first seven days after quitting. Sometimes the symptoms last for a few weeks. The timeline of average nicotine withdrawal depends on the individual. Learn more about the withdrawal timeline for nicotine.

First Day

Nicotine withdrawal begins 20 minutes following the last dose of nicotine. Strongest cravings for the drug occur first thing in the morning as the body recognizes how long it has been since last dose. The sign a body and brain is used to the absence of nicotine is withdrawal. Cravings will also begin within an hour or two following last cigarette and peak for several several days to weeks. Most people slip up in the first days to weeks after stopping.

First Week

When quitting nicotine, withdrawal is strongest the first 7 days after quitting. Many people cannot handle the feelings associated with quitting and use tobacco again to feel better. Some common physical symptoms which are present may include:


Difficulty thinking


Increased appetite



Mental symptoms may also present with feelings of anxiety, anger or depression. People describe the urge to use nicotine as strongest the first week. Medication can help manage withdrawal and cravings. Withdrawal symptoms do subside over time.

Second Week

During the second week of nicotine absence, physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal tend to subside. Habitual cravings and urges to use are still present. Many people, places, events, moods and other things can trigger behavioral use. Learning to handle triggers and having a plan to manage it can be important.

Third Week

Physical symptoms of acute nicotine withdrawal last a few weeks. Symptoms may persist for weeks or months but urges do not disappear until a person practices resisting the urges over time. Withdrawal symptoms are usually worse during the first week and get better from there. The intensity drops after the first month but everyone is different in responding to withdrawal.

Learning to quit nicotine is a challenge but is possible with the help of supportive friends and family. Seeking help from others who are quitting can be beneficial also for those who seek to move past addiction to nicotine.

Blueprints helps young adults face the challenges of recovery. Everyone has a different path to recovery so it is on this premise Blueprints provides small community for recovery. Learn more about our programs by giving us a call.


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