Quitting smoking can cause various withdrawal symptoms. Chest pain, which can feel like a dull ache or a sharp stab, may occur when the body is craving nicotine.
Although withdrawal symptoms, such as chest pain, may raise concerns, the
Chest pain may also link to an underlying issue. The second biggest cause of emergency room (ER) visits in the United States is chest pains, with over
This article discusses why someone may feel chest pain after quitting smoking and what other withdrawal symptoms can also occur.
When quitting smoking, the body goes through a process of healing. Abstinence from smoking can trigger unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping or irritation,
Paradoxically, smoking can also inadvertently contribute to chest pain, harming the cardiovascular system in ways
- causing the cells lining the blood vessels to become inflamed
- contributing to the development of certain cardiovascular conditions, such as:
- coronary heart disease
- peripheral arterial disease
- increasing the risk of heart attack
Quitting smoking will also decrease the risk of cardiovascular issues, but the body responding to the lack of nicotine may also produce withdrawal symptoms such as chest pain.
Smoking cigarettes is the
How does nicotine affect the body?
Nicotine is a substance in tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes. It
The substance induces:
- endorphins in the body
- levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine
- temporarily enhanced thinking abilities, such as an increase in focus and memory
Because nicotine levels peak quickly, many people end up in a cycle of repeated use to continue the pleasurable feelings.
According to the
As the body heals and adjusts to the lack of nicotine, a person may feel:
- intense or mild cravings to smoke
- irritation or grumpiness
- restlessness and anxiety
- difficulty focusing or paying attention
- issues with falling asleep
- an increase in appetite
- sadness or depression
The symptoms of withdrawal can last for a
Although chest pain can be a withdrawal symptom of quitting smoking, it also may result from an underlying issue. Most chest pain is not a sign of something serious, but it is important to seek medical advice if it is sudden or persists for more than 15 minutes.
Anxiety, another withdrawal symptom of quitting smoking, may also lead to feelings of chest tightness and pain. Some ways to manage anxiety and chest pain after quitting smoking
- engaging in relaxing, enjoyable physical activities such as walking
- spending time in a quiet, calm, and relaxing environment
- trying relaxing techniques, such as meditation, yoga, hot baths, or taking 10 deep breaths in through the nose and out the mouth
- reducing the intake of caffeine or caffeinated drinks such as coffee or tea
- joining a smoking cessation support group
- avoiding certain triggers, such as places where the person used to smoke
- using nicotine replacement therapies such as gum or patches
According to the
Sudden chest pain symptoms
Smoking is harmful to health, particularly the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Sudden chest pain includes symptoms such as:
- a feeling of tight heaviness in the chest
- pain spreading to parts of the body, including arms, neck, and jaw
- shortness of breath
- feeling sick or vomiting
- symptoms lasting more than 15 minutes
According to the
Smoking can cause or contribute to the following:
- various cancers, such as lung cancer
- lung diseases
- heart diseases
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis
- eye disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
Worldwide, smoking causes around 7 million deaths annually.
The health benefits of quitting smoking happen in as little as several minutes of stopping.
|Length of time after quitting||Health benefits|
|several minutes||heart rate decreases|
|24 hours||the level of nicotine in the blood decreases|
|several days||carbon monoxide levels in the blood decrease|
|1 year||symptoms, such as shortness of breath and coughing, slow down, and the cilia, hair cells that line the lungs’ airways and help clear them, regrow|
|2 years||the risk of heart attack decreases|
|5–10 years||the risk of certain cancers, such as bladder and kidney, reduces|
The benefits of quitting smoking can
- reducing respiratory symptoms
- reducing the risk of various conditions, such as stroke
- reducing the risk of premature death
- improving life expectancy
- improving quality of life
- reducing the risk of various conditions, such as heart disease
- reducing the financial burden of smoking
Treatment for quitting smoking is also known as nicotine dependency treatment. Withdrawal symptoms cause no harm and will eventually decrease over time.
Nicotine dependency treatments
- medications, such as varenicline and bupropion
- using counseling services that can provide support or help make a plan to quit and cope with the withdrawal symptoms
- using nicotine replacement therapies, such as:
- nasal sprays
Quitting smoking can result in various withdrawal symptoms, including chest pain. The lack of nicotine in the system can mean the body craves it, leading to several unpleasant side effects.
However, quitting smoking can provide health benefits within minutes. Over time, side effects, such as chest pain, anxiety, and hunger, eventually decrease. No matter how long someone may have smoked, and no matter their age, quitting is essential for optimal health.