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What physical side effects are there when you quit smoking?

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Quick Answer

Physical side effects of quitting smoking include short-term symptoms as a result of nicotine withdrawal, as well as long-term health benefits, claims Healthline. Nicotine cravings, anxiety, depression, weight gain and increased feelings of anger and irritability are commonly reported by people experiencing nicotine withdrawal, reports the National Cancer Institute. Long-term physical benefits to quitting smoking include a regained sense of smell, improved ability to breathe during activity, and fading of the yellow color on teeth, notes the American Cancer Society.

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Full Answer

When someone stops smoking tobacco, levels of nicotine in the body drop, causing addiction withdrawal symptoms, explains Healthline. Physical side effects vary according to the individual's level of addiction, the length of time she smoked, and the frequency and quantity of cigarettes smoked. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms sometimes include sweating, coughing, tingling in feet and hands, headaches and nausea. Withdrawal usually begins a couple hours after smoking the last cigarette, peaks after two or three days, and is gone after a couple weeks, though some experience withdrawal as soon as 30 minutes after the last tobacco and for several months later.

About two hours after the last cigarette, blood pressure returns to a normal level, according to Healthline. In about two hours, nerve endings for smell and taste begin to re-grow. After about two weeks of not smoking, lung function improves significantly.

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