Understanding Nicotine Withdrawal Hour by Hour: What Happens When You Quit Vaping

Understanding Nicotine Withdrawal Hour by Hour: What Happens When You Quit Vaping

Understanding Nicotine Withdrawal hour by hour: What Happens When You Quit Vaping

Nicotine, found in vaping and tobacco products, is a highly addictive substance that can lead to symptoms of nicotine withdrawal when you decide to quit, particularly if you've been using nicotine for an extended period. This collection of physical, emotional, and mental symptoms occurs as your body adjusts to the absence of nicotine. When using nicotine, your brain becomes accustomed to it due to the release of excess dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter. However, when you stop using nicotine, the lack of dopamine production leads to various withdrawal symptoms, making the quitting process challenging. Let's delve into what happens to your body when you quit vaping and experience nicotine withdrawal.


Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms:

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can vary from person to person, depending on the frequency and quantity of nicotine consumed. These symptoms typically start a few hours after your last dose of nicotine, whether it was from vaping, smoking, or other forms of tobacco use. They tend to peak within the first few days and may last for several weeks. Fortunately, these symptoms gradually improve over time, and the benefits of quitting vaping far outweigh any temporary discomfort.

Physical Symptoms:

Urges to smoke or vape


Increased appetite

Weight gain

Digestive issues like constipation, gas, or diarrhea

Respiratory symptoms such as cough, dry mouth, sore throat, and nasal drip

Chest tightness




Emotional and Mental Symptoms:

In addition to physical symptoms, nicotine withdrawal often leads to emotional and mental challenges, including:


Feeling tired, restless, or bored



Difficulty concentrating


Nicotine Withdrawal Timeline:

Understanding the timeline of nicotine withdrawal can help you anticipate what to expect as you quit vaping:

4 hours: You'll likely experience cravings, restlessness, and a 90% drop in nicotine levels.

10 hours: Lower blood sugar levels may make you feel hungrier, and tingling in your extremities may occur.

24 hours: The first day can be challenging, with strong cravings, irritability, and anxiety.

48 hours: Symptoms may intensify, including depression, headaches, and constant cravings.

72 hours: Cravings should begin to subside, and your body will work to eliminate accumulated tar, leading to a sore throat and cough.

7-21 days: Cravings may persist but become more manageable. Increased appetite and reduced energy levels are common as your metabolism and blood pressure normalize.


Quitting vaping and experiencing nicotine withdrawal can be a challenging journey, but understanding the process and the timeline can help you stay committed to your goal. While going cold turkey is an option, programs that offer you a sustainable approach to gradually reducing your nicotine intake can assist in managing withdrawal symptoms effectively. Remember, the discomfort of withdrawal is temporary, and the long-term health benefits of quitting vaping are well worth the effort.

  1. Handling Nicotine Withdrawal and Triggers When You Decide to Quit Tobacco. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/withdrawal-fact-sheet#what-are-some-of-the-nicotine-withdrawal-symptoms-associated-with-quitting-tobacco.

  2. Nicotine Withdrawal. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21587-nicotine-withdrawal

  3. 7 Common Withdrawal Symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/7-common-withdrawal-symptoms/index.html

  4. Quit Smoking Timeline. Tobacco Free Life. https://tobaccofreelife.org/quit-smoking/quit-smoking-timeline/.

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