What to Expect After Quitting

First things first: Congrats on getting this far in your quitting journey!

You’re well on your way. It can be reassuring to know what to expect the longer you stay quit. Read on!

What to Expect 1 Month After Quitting

One month tobacco-free is a BIG DEAL! After the first month of quitting smoking, vaping, chewing or dipping, you’ve likely noticed some things have changed. Changes to your body, and changes to your daily routines.

Positive Body Changes (And Some Gunk)

Positive changes start in your body immediately. After 2 weeks of quitting, your coughing and shortness of breath start decreasing. Those lung problems continue to decrease as your body heals from the damage caused by tobacco. It’s normal to feel some unpleasant effects of that healing during the first month. These might include coughing up phlegm, or feeling in a fog. But the longer you continue not smoking, vaping and chewing or dipping, the more your body will heal.

Growing Confidence (And Still Feeling Shaky)

Being quit for a month, you may feel like you have a pretty good handle on staying quit. But you also might feel a little shaky in your confidence. This is very normal!

This stage of quitting is like a toddler who knows how to walk but still is a little wobbly. Be patient and encouraging of yourself. But also look out for sharp corners!

To stay quit, you’ve likely been changing your daily routines whether or not you were aware of it!

Some people say it can take 21 days to form a new habit. Having a month of being tobacco-free under your belt, you’re living your new life as a non-smoker, vaper, dipper or chewer. The key to success is to stay that way.

Today is my month 1 day 4. I just had a testing moment. I didn't know if I'd cave and have one or just say no. I am so very proud of myself. I just said no. In my thoughts, I was thinking 'I don't want to be stumbling around and stinking along with all the other bad moods of being mad and sad at myself for smoking.' So I stayed put physically and mentally, in a strong stance against the temptation. I am so happy I made it through that confrontation


What to Expect 6 Months After Quitting

You’ve hit a big milestone: 6 months quit! Congratulations on sticking with it!

You have made it past the most fragile part of quitting. During those first few months, triggers can feel overwhelming.

Feeling Better (Physically and Other Ways)

Your body continues to experience positive benefits the longer you stay quit. Coughing and shortness of breath continue to decrease.

Walking up a flight of stairs, exercise and even playing with your kids or grandkids feels a little easier now.

You can smell and taste food more vividly than when you were a tobacco user. These are all signs your body is continuing to heal!

Getting Easier (And Still Having Some Cravings)

The quitting process is not the same for everyone. At 6 months, some people never look back and have no trouble staying tobacco-free. Others still have cravings, but find they go away pretty quickly after reminding themselves that they no longer smoke, vape, dip or chew.

People experiencing high stress might still be using quit medications after 6 months of quitting. Wherever you find yourself at this moment is a normal part of your journey.

As long as you’re not smoking, vaping, dipping or chewing, you’re doing it “right!”

It has now been six months since I have quit my 16 year pack and 1/2 addiction with cigarettes. It took about 5 months for my breathing and the croupy coughy stuff to completely clear up. All in all, I am glad I quit.


What to Expect 1 Year After Quitting

One year tobacco-free is monumental! Epic! Awe-inspiring, even.

At this point you’re likely feeling proud, accomplished, confident… and maybe sometimes too confident.

Physical Effects (Holy Moly!)

By one year tobacco-free, your body should look and feel quite a bit different. Your skin is brighter and your breathing is easier. Your fingernails aren’t yellow. If you’ve gone to the dentist, your teeth are staying much whiter.

You have more energy. You may even notice a sensation of time expanding. Feeling like you have more opportunity, and a keener sense of the world around you.

Confidence to Cope with Cravings (Even When They Pop Up)

To reach one year tobacco-free, you no doubt have good strategies in place to deal with cravings when they pop up.

You evolve. Your life changes. New stressors may arise. New temptations may emerge.

You may need to develop new skills or strategies to deal with those new triggers. Or for dealing with different cravings than you used to have. That’s normal.

Positive self-talk can make a huge difference, especially when times get tough. Try telling yourself things like “I can and I will,” or “I’m more powerful than any craving,” or “I want to keep my quit going.” Be kind to yourself!

What If I Slip?

Breaking free from tobacco addiction can be difficult. There’s no question about it. Relapse and struggle are frequently part of the process.

People who are more addicted have a difficult time quitting and staying quit. This is true even with a strong desire to stop, and a great deal of effort made to quit and stay quit.

We’ve got tips for getting back on track after a relapse, no matter how long you've been smoke, vape or dip-free.

One phrase or tool you might find useful is to ‘don’t say anything to yourself that you would not say to a good friend’. Positive and supportive ‘self-talk’ conserves the energy wasted through self-blame, and can provide a strong and gentle foundation to manage the difficult challenges in ‘re-learning’ life without tobacco.

Dr. Burke, Mayo ClinicDr. Burke, Mayo Clinic