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Smoking and Tobacco

Nicotine withdrawal time frame

04/12/2002

Question:

How long after quitting smoking does it take for the physical addiction (withdrawal) to nicotine to cease? In other words, when do cravings for cigarettes become purely mental (from habit) vs. physical addiction?

Thanks

Answer:

Nicotine has a short half-life of 30-60 minutes, so all nicotine is gone from the body within a day. However, physical withdrawal symptoms may persist for several weeks, probably reflecting the effects on the brain (e.g. EEG slowing, difficulty concentrating, irritability, sleep problems, and headache.

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Response by:

Jerry   Friemoth, MD Jerry Friemoth, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati