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WHY QUITTING IS DIFFICULT Using tobacco is a hard habit to break. Many people are physically and mentally addicted.

Physical Addiction

Most tobacco users are addicted to the nicotine in tobacco. When nicotine levels in their blood drop, it causes withdrawal symptoms. When they use tobacco again, the symptoms go away. Many people who quit using tobacco start to feel uncomfortable, irritable, and anxious. Tey may get headaches, strong food cravings, or feel like they are getting a cold. Te body’s addiction to nicotine and stress about failure to quit cause many of the symptoms.

If your loved one gets irritable or short-tempered, try to be patient. He or she will feel better in a few weeks. Other symptoms that get better with time include fatigue, dizziness, trouble sleeping, coughing, and depression. Be sure your loved one sees his or her doctor for help with medication to lower withdrawal symptoms.

Mental Addiction

For many, tobacco use has strong ties to certain people, groups, or situations. Many people have a ritual of use after dinner, while visiting with friends, or while reading the newspaper in a favorite chair. For some, tobacco use becomes a reward after a hard day at work. Part of the quitting process is to identify people, places, and situations that trigger the urge to use tobacco and to find activities to replace the trigger activities.


When trying to quit, a major problem for tobacco users is getting over habits. For example, typical smokers bring cigarettes to their mouths more than 200 times a day. Tis hand-to-mouth habit is just as hard to break as the habits of nail biting or knuckle cracking. Many smokers and smokeless tobacco users also become used to holding a cigarette or tobacco in their lips and may need to use toothpicks or gum to help reduce that desire when quitting.

Weight Gain

Weight gain is normal when a person quits tobacco use. Five to 10 pounds is typical, but some people will gain more. When a person quits using tobacco, metabolism slows to the rate of a nonsmoker, food tastes better, and sometimes food is used as a way to keep the hands and mouth busy. Regular exercise and healthy food choices can help prevent weight gain and help manage other withdrawal symptoms.

How to Help Someone You Love Stop Using Tobacco


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