You’re on Day 1 of quitting, and you find yourself irritated by the smallest of things. Plus, you feel tired, have headaches, and are having trouble concentrating. What's going on?

You might be facing withdrawal symptoms, as your body gets used to not having nicotine. That’s a good thing — it means your body is recovering from the damages of smoking.

Even better news: withdrawal symptoms don't last very long. They're usually strongest in the first week of quitting, and often go away after two to three weeks. So hang in there!

Beat Withdrawal Symptoms 

Here are some tips to help you handle some common withdrawal symptoms.

Related: The Journey to Smoke-Free

Trouble Concentrating

If you’re having difficulty concentrating on your daily tasks, take frequent mental breaks. Do stretching exercises to energise yourself. You can drink a cup of spicy teh halia or mint tea to recharge and stay alert.

Related: Tea — An Old Beverage Chock-Full of Benefits


Another common withdrawal symptom is irritability — your brain is trying to get used to absence of nicotine. To cope with it, try calming down by practising deep breathing or yoga.

Or turn to the best medicine: laughter. Laugh out loud by catching a funny movie or watching your favourite sitcom on TV.

Related: Burn Calories while Watching TV!


Headaches happen because your brain is adjusting to the higher oxygen levels in your blood.

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep — around seven to nine hours — to prevent your headaches from getting worse. Going for a massage or acupuncture might help ease the pain too.

Related: Headache and Migraine

Feeling Hungry or Thirsty Between Meals

Arm yourself with healthy snacks to munch on between meals, like fruits or low-fat yogurt.

Carry a water bottle with you at all times so you can sip on water whenever you feel thirsty. Avoid sugary drinks like soda, and try a soothing cup of oolong tea or green tea instead.

Related: Kacang Puteh, and Other Healthy Snacks to Pack

Feeling Tired

Take walking breaks in the office, and move your body so you feel more energised.

Exercise doesn’t just keep you energized; it’s also a mood booster. And when you feel good, it’ll be easier to get your mind off your withdrawal symptoms and control your cravings!

Do regular exercise like swimming and cycling. If you find it hard to motivate yourself to exercise, get your family and friends to join you. Go cycling with your family at East Coast Park, play beach volleyball with your friends at Sentosa, or grab your kakis for a football match.

Make exercise part of your daily routine while you’re trying to quit smoking. And keep at it even after you've successfully stubbed out to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Related: Get Up and Go! Tips to Get Started on Your Exercise Journey

Resources for quitting

Join the I Quit 28-Day Countdown now! Call QuitLine at 1800 438 2000 for support, and visit participating retail pharmacies for advice and products that can help you quit.

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