Lybrate Logo
Get the App
For Doctors
Consult Online
Book Appointment
Ask a Question
Plan my Surgery
Health Feed
Health Feed
Find Doctors

Quit Smoking - Treatment, Procedure And Side Effects

Last Updated: Jul 20, 2021

What is the treatment?

A lot of people are addicted to the fatal habit of smoking. However, there are many treatments available that can wean an individual off smoking. If one categorizes them, the treatments would fall under the following heads:

  • Pharmacological ways – These ways are typically the ways that would involve nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). This type of therapy would aim to replace the deadly nicotine with something, which is similar in the chemical structure. However, the ill effects of nicotine will be eliminated. The prolonged use of NRT will eventually wean the individual out of nicotine.
  • Home remedies - These will take a longer time for an individual to wean from nicotine, although this therapy is considered the best in the longer run. There are minimal side effects when home remedies are applied. Individuals are usually distracted from nicotine during the therapy. Detoxifying drinks are administered for the body to release the inhaled toxins.
  • Placebo & rehabilitation therapy - Placebo treatments are the kind of therapies, which will mock the smoking activity. The individual will be subjected to something called electronic cigarettes. Smoking the same will not generate the nicotine smoke, but psychologically, the individual will have the satisfaction of smoking.

How is the treatment done?

There are many ways to quit smoking. The various weaning ways will have set procedures and rules to be followed. The individual undergoing that treatment is kept under strict supervision and denied nicotine completely. Let us look deeper into the treatment ways!

- Nicotine Replacement Therapy(NRT) - The treatment will allow the body to absorb lower doses of nicotine except for the tar. Tar is nothing but carbon monoxide, which is the trouble creator. This therapy will eliminate sudden withdrawal symptoms, bad moods, and cravings. NRT molecules are available in different forms which aim to eliminate smoking. The various forms are:

  • Inhalators
  • Skin patches
  • Chewing gums
  • Tablets, syringes and lozenges

Patches will have a low speed of nicotine release. The patches are often advised to be taken off in the night. Chewing gums, inhalators and tablets have a higher rate of release, and might elevate the cravings. Only a single type of NRT will not be enough to wean out the bad habit. However, a combination of the above examples can together be taken up to 8-12 doses to show up any visible effect.

- Home remedies - Home remedies basically aim to heal the damage that has been caused by the hard part of the nicotine toxin. This toxin will permeate the body and cause damage to the cells, especially of the lungs. A home remedy with water is one of the widely used weaning methods. The absorption of extra amounts of water will force the toxin out of the body. Tobacco and nicotine in synergy cause a lot of damage to the cells. The same can be revived or reversed using water. Drinking water at regular intervals and under prescribed levels will ensure complete flush out of the toxin.

What is the most effective way to quit smoking?

Smoking in a distinctive pattern for a long period of time can be addictive. And one might need strong self-motivation to quit smoking effectively. Once you decide to quit here are some of the methods that you can adapt:

  1. Nicotine therapy:

    You can consult a de-addict specialist to know which mode of nicotine would be suitable for you as it is available in:

    • Nasal spray or inhaler.
    • Over-the-counter nicotine patches.
    • Over-the-counter nicotine gum and lozenges.
    • Non-nicotine medications such as bupropion (Zyban) and varenicline (Chantix).

    The therapy includes the combination of both short and long modes of nicotine replacement therapy. Long-acting nicotine replacement methods like patches and medications, often combined with short-acting nicotine replacement like nicotine gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, or inhalers.

    In some cases, where people find it hard to quit smoking, electronic cigarettes are recommended. Although the method needs to be researched as the outcomes of using it are quite vague, it is less harmful than ordinary smoking.

  2. Always keep yourself motivated:

    Remember why you want to quit smoking, it will help you to be motivated during triggers. Triggers are common when you try to quit smoking, avoid trigger situations and make an effort to replace with things like:

    • Social activity:

      Indulge in conversation with friends and family when you feel like smoking, distract yourself will help you to be clean.

    • Delay:

      Whenever you feel like smoking try to delay the activity via small activity or time delay go for a walk in a smoking-free zone, watch a movie, or indulge in some activity to deviate yourself from puff thoughts.

    • Positive reinforcement:

      Replace your smoking with something rewarding like candy or something you like to have as a reward.

    • Physical activity:

      Like exercise and activities like reading, crafting, prayer, needlework, woodwork, or journaling will keep you busy and active at the same time.

      Other activities like deep-breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, yoga, visualization, massage, or listening to calming music can also be added to deal with the underlying stress and psychological reason behind you starting smoking in the first place.

  3. Avoid craving:

    The initial stages of the process might come with some occasional cravings. Often patients decide to have one as a reward but only lead to relapse, not further motivation.

  4. Connect to other stories:

    In some cases, self-motivation can fade which may lead to relapse. Join an online support group or try to study cases related to tobacco cravings. You can always talk to other quitters, group activities may help you be more motivated and stay focused on the main goal.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Ideally, an individual who has reached the highest level of nicotine contamination is eligible for treatment. However, upon doctors’ advice, all addicted individuals need not undergo treatment. The “quit smoking” treatment will again invite a sudden toll in the body. The changes, though for long-term benefits, will push the body into accepting the same. Weaning a bad habit will trigger bad moods and hyperactive individual nature.

Treatment should be taken under supervision and care. The withdrawal symptoms can be severe, and one need to be patient. Getting a high fever or a strong headache are signs of the weaning process and hence, you should not panic.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

The people who should be exclusively refrained from this treatment are:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children below 18 years
  • Breastfeeding women
  • People suffering from kidney problems and
  • People who encounter problems like epilepsy and eating disorders

The above categories of individuals refrain from such treatments because putting the body in a strict routine is not possible with them. A pregnant woman cannot be exposed to those patches and strict diet as she will have her own drugs to be administered. A combination of both will have ill-effects on the little one.


Are there any side effects?

Well, every treatment administered to the human body will end up in side effects. The severity of the side effect might differ from one to another. Since, NRT is the widely-used method of weaning, side effects related to the drug used are common. The possible side effects are:

  • Sickness: The state of being sick is the trend while under the therapy. The main reason behind this are the withdrawal symptoms and effects of the drug. The body will tend to feel weak and lean as the sudden kick from nicotine will be missing. The slow release of nicotine will make the body weak.
  • Constipation: Another most occurring side effect is constipation. This condition is due to the pharmacodynamics going inside the body due to the drug. Excretions will be affected majorly, as the therapy will try to eliminate the contamination of nicotine from all the major biochemical pathways.

What happens to your body when you quit smoking?

Each individual has their own set of withdrawal symptoms during the process of quitting. But after the last cigarette, your body starts to project certain changes, few common changes are:

  1. Blood pressure balance:

    Nicotine tends to create an instant rise in blood pressure, which is also one of the reasons why smoking leads to heart attack or stroke. After 20 min you smoke your last cigarette, your blood pressure begins to take its normal pace.

  2. Easy expiration:

    After your last smoke, your oxygen level will come back to normal within 8 hours. The damage caused in the air sacs of the lungs started to repair itself and makes your breathing more smooth and easy.

  3. Decrease the risk of having cancer:

    Each time you smoke a cigarette, your probability of developing cancer is heightened. Quitting may diminish the risk by 50%.

  4. Improve the quality of your skin and nails:

    Smoking, stains your nails, teeth, and lips, and give them a yellowish black tint. It also makes your skin and hair look dull and brittle. When you quit smoking it brings the quality of your skin and nails back to normal.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

A typical “quit smoking” treatment would last for about 8-12 weeks. However, the real care and struggle come post treatment. The adopted ways are quite easy to give away unless the following guidelines are adhered to:

  • Stay away: Keeping yourself away from areas and groups that are smoky is a mandate. It is necessary that you keep away from people who smoke. Passive smoking is again deadly! Post treatment, the body signals will move towards returning to smoke. This happens due to the undying need for nicotine. Exposure to surrounding nicotine can trigger the need back.
  • Eat healthy: Eating healthy food like fruits, vegetables and juices will bring back the health to normal. All the side effects that were evident should vaporize. Fruits and other veggies will also improve one’s immunity and help fight any infections.

How long does it take to recover?

As soon as the therapy ends, a new phase of recovery begins. Your strict routine and medications will slowly take turns to heal the damaged lung and associated respiratory system. At the beginning, withdrawal symptoms will take charge and make things a little difficult for you. Bad mood and behavioral changes are inevitable. However, complete healing might take 2-3 years’ time. Momentary relief will start within a few weeks of treatment.

Can the lungs heal after quitting smoking?

Yes, the human body tends to heal itself after mild to moderate damage, so the moment you quit your lungs will start their self-cleaning process. Depending, upon the time duration, the toxins sedimented in your air sacs in the lungs known as alveoli, will slowly decrease. Other than that, smoking cause permanent damage like:

  • Emphysema:

    Smoking can permanently damage alveolar sacs, which can make it difficult for you to exchange oxygen. The condition of permanent damage of alveolar sacs is known as emphysema.

  • Chronic bronchitis:

    Extreme inflammation in the alveoli prevents oxygen from reaching the bloodstream, this condition is known as chronic bronchitis.

  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ):

    In this condition Emphysema and Chronic bronchitis both affect an individual during smoking.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Generally, Indians always keep a mindset of being reasonable in everything that they do. The skin patches used as NRT will cost about INR 700-800. Overall, the treatment would cost around $10-12. The same might vary due to the differences between the treatment centers.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Well, the results of the treatments are permanent and will not turn temporary until one decides to. Quit smoking will become a part of your routine and you should exactly know what do to keep yourself in that. The treatment requires commitment and discipline. With the right attitude, the results can be forever. Temporary relief will become permanent with only your discipline. Results can reverse at any point if you fall weak and give into your old bad habits.

Does skin repair after quitting smoking?

Your skin loses its shine and elasticity while smoking. When you stop smoking your skin will start to repair itself and become smoother and radiant. Depending upon the duration, your skin might take six months or more to regain its original vitality.

One can aid the process by adding vitamin C to your diet and skincare regime as tobacco consumption can lower down the quantity of vitamin C in the body.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

This kind of addiction seldom finds alternatives. Nevertheless, there are a few ways that will let you quit smoking. They are:

  • Psychological training will train your mind to learn the ill effects of smoking. Your mind will be filled with so much of negativity about smoking that you will be forced the habit.
  • Fear is another weapon! Animated effects of smoking in lungs and respiratory systems will scare the smoker.

Does quitting smoking make you tired?

Yes, for brief period nicotine might make you feel energetic as it paces up your blood pressure. While you quit smoking, your body might feel tired for some time. Quitting also leads to frequent headaches or fatigue, but it's temporary and will go with time as your body starts to regain its normal state. In rare cases, one might have insomnia episodes. or disturbed sleep patterns.

Is it normal to cough after quitting smoking?

Even though coughing is not a common withdrawal symptom, it's not a condition one would worry about. It's a temporary condition caused by inbuilt mucus which started to come up during the healing process after quitting.

During smoking, tiny hairs called cilia to become inactive and mucus in your lungs gets dry and stuck to your alveoli. This also leads to shortness of breath and low stamina. Once you quit the cilia become active again and start to move mucus out of your lungs, leading to coughing.

It can be mild or heavy coughing and lead to several months. Activation of cilia also makes you feel more active and heighten the level of oxygen in your bloodstream.

Popular Questions & Answers

View All

I'm 27 years old. I am a smoker since last 6-7 ...


Dr. Saranya Devanathan


Dear Saikat, The doctor might have diagnosed a mood disorder in addition to your nicotine dependa...

I am 22 years old and my hairs are getting grey...


Dr. Sabana Ansari


Hello lybrate-user! during our lifetime, the colour producing cells in hair roots (melanocytes) a...

Mai husband ko disulfiram 250 mg deti hu wo dri...


Dr. Shilpa Shukla


You should consult Dr. there are so many substitute for any substance use disorder and med should...

Hi sir, I have consulted a phycarist last month...


Dr. Sartaj Deepak


Hi lybrate-user, alcohol is known to cause and exacerbate existing depression. So, it is not advi...

My husband drinks alcohol very much and he beco...


Dr. Shreyasi Paul


Hello lybrate-user. I'm so sorry to hear this. Alcohol is an addictive substance and any person c...

Table of content

Content Details
Profile Image
Written ByDr. Akshata Bhat MD - Psychiatry,MBBSPsychiatry
Need more help 

15+ Years of Surgical Experience

All Insurances Accepted

EMI Facility Available at 0% Rate

Find Psychiatrist near me


Ask a free question

Get FREE multiple opinions from Doctors

posted anonymously

Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice