Some people may experience a sore throat after quitting smoking. It is one of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, which refers to the period necessary for the body to adjust to not having nicotine. A person may also have other symptoms similar to a cold or flu, such as sneezing or coughing.
When a person has a sore throat,
Nicotine withdrawal may also commonly cause other effects, such as depression, insomnia, and irritability.
This article discusses a sore throat after quitting smoking, as well as smoker’s flu and other symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. It also examines sore throat treatment, the benefits of quitting smoking, and ways to quit smoking.
Nicotine, the main ingredient in cigarette smoke, affects the brain and body in various ways. When a person stops smoking, they need time to adjust to the effects of not having nicotine.
This period of adjustment, called nicotine withdrawal, can manifest in psychological and physical symptoms, including a sore throat, according to
If an individual has been a heavy smoker, they are especially likely to experience this symptom. It can begin 72 hours after quitting.
A common name for the effects a person may experience when quitting smoking is smoker’s flu.
Along with a sore throat, common side effects include:
- nicotine cravings
- nausea, vomiting, and cramping
- difficulty concentrating
- tingling in hands and feet
- weight gain
In addition to a sore throat, a person may experience other symptoms similar to those of a cold or flu after quitting smoking. Some people call this smoker’s flu.
Symptoms usually peak on day 3 and taper off after 2 weeks to a month, suggests the same
Because smoker’s flu can pose a threat to successful quitting, it helps for someone to know that such symptoms may occur and to realize they are only temporary.
Other than a sore throat, smoker’s flu symptoms may include:
- using a cool mist vaporizer or humidifier
- drinking warm beverages
- gargling with salt water
- sucking on ice chips or popsicles
To treat nicotine withdrawal symptoms in general, including sore throat, experts advise drinking plenty of water throughout the day in the weeks that follow quitting smoking. A person should aim to consume 6–8 glasses of water per day.
The benefits start immediately after quitting, increasing in importance with time.
According to the
|Time since quitting||Effects on the body|
|20 minutes||Blood pressure and heart rate decrease.|
|A few days||Blood carbon monoxide levels reduce to standard levels.|
|2–3 weeks||Lung function and circulation increase.|
|1–12 months||Shortness of breath and coughing decline. The function of cilia also becomes typical, which decreases the risk of infections. (Cilia are tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs.)|
|1–2 years||The risk of heart attacks lowers dramatically.|
|5–10 years||The likelihood of stroke drops, and the risk of cancers of the voice box, throat, and mouth declines by 50%.|
|10 years||Lung cancer risk falls as much as 50% of the risk of a long-term smoker. Cancers of the kidney, bladder, and esophagus decrease.|
|15 years||The risk of heart artery disease reduces and becomes close to the risk of a nonsmoker.|
A person may choose to quit with or without medications.
One type of medication involves nicotine replacement therapy, the
They come in different forms, including:
These products may help relieve cravings and some physical withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking.
According to the ACS, research suggests that they can nearly double the likelihood of successfully quitting. This option may be appropriate for heavy smokers.
Other medication options
Quitting without medications may mean trying the cold turkey method. This is when a person quits smoking completely all at once. Another method involves gradual withdrawal, which means slowly decreasing the number of cigarettes a person smokes daily.
Ways that may not work
While other products on the market claim to help an individual quit smoking, doctors do not recommend them.
These include filters that decrease the tar and nicotine in cigarettes but do not successfully lead a person to quit. Additionally, research does not show that smoking deterrents, such as stop-smoking vitamins or products that change tobacco taste, are effective.
A sore throat after quitting smoking is one of the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Other symptoms may include emotional effects, such as depression, and physical effects, such as nausea and vomiting.
Treatment of a sore throat may include home measures to help a person feel better, such as gargling with salt water.
The benefits of quitting smoking involve short-term effects, such as reducing blood pressure. There are also long-term effects, such as decreased risk of heart attacks, lung disease, and some cancers.
People may quit with or without the use of medications.