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Now that I’ve quit smoking, why am I more congested than I was before?

By Margaret LaPlante, EX Coach Lead

Now that you’ve quit smoking, vaping, chewing or dipping, you might expect your body to immediately feel amazing. So why are you feeling sinus pain or congestion? It was hard enough just to quit, it doesn’t seem fair that you’re feeling worse. The reality is that it often takes some time for your body to go through its healing process.

Is sinus pain normal after quitting smoking?

After you quit tobacco, your body experiences many changes as it begins to heal from the damage. Smokers in particular may experience sinus pain or congestion after quitting. This is a very normal part of quitting smoking, so don’t be alarmed if you are feeling more congested or experiencing sinus troubles now that you are tobacco-free.

In fact, the topics of sinus problems and congestion have been discussed in many posts on our EX Community. One user, katieb3, posted: So I am On the 4th day of no cigarettes and I am congested in my lungs, nose and ears.... can someone please let me know how long this will last? Read more to see what other members had to say in response.

Another user, raychel, also posted about her sinus troubles after quitting smoking-

I have had the WORST sinus pain since I have quit smoking. EX Community members posted their own experiences in the comments.

A common thread in their comments suggests that the sinus pain and congestion are all a normal part of quitting smoking and eventually decrease over time. Staying hydrated, well rested and committed to quitting were the top recommendations. Read for yourself to see all of their helpful comments!

For most people, sinus pain and congestion after quitting smoking typically start decreasing after several weeks of quitting smoking, vaping or chew/dip.

How can I help reduce congestion and sinus pain after quitting smoking?

  • Try using a nasal wash system. Read here to learn about one member’s experience with one.

  • Watch this video from Dr. Richard Hurt of the Mayo Clinic about how nicotine affects your brain and how medication can help.

  • Read the EX Community Elders’ post here about ways to decrease withdrawal symptoms, including sinus pain and congestions, after quitting smoking.