Dreams of Smoking Cigarettes When Quitting Smoking.

Ex Smoker Waking from smoking dreamIf you find yourself dreaming about smoking cigarettes in the middle of a quit smoking campaign, don’t be alarmed. As this study suggests; it’s an entirely normal phenomenon and one to be expected during both chemical withdrawal and medium to long term recovery.

Dreaming about drug use is very common among almost all forms of recovering drug addict, a fact also confirmed by this study.

Dreaming is a phenomenon not yet fully understood, but most certainly produced by neurological and psychological conditions. When you stop smoking cigarettes, your brain enters a period of intense recovery involving physiological changes to the brain.

Changes driven by a rationalised intent and desire to quit smoking. This desired change comes into direct conflict with primal areas of the brain tricked into believing nicotine and the cigarettes that provide it, are both critical to your survival.

You can expect this conflict to manifest itself as vivid dreams about smoking and relapse while quitting smoking.

This is something I myself experienced while quitting, and is something I see regularly discussed on quit smoking forums and communities. The dreams themselves are extremely vivid, often leaving the dreamer feeling guilty, disappointed and alarmed upon waking.

These negative feelings are often replaced with a great deal of relief once awareness and the realisation it was all just a dream, kicks in.

Personally, I see such dreams as being very beneficial to the healing process. It’s comforting to know that even asleep, the rational part of the brain somehow wrestles against areas of the brain diseased with addiction.

Even if my rational mind didn’t win, the feeling of relief I felt every time I awoke from a smoking dream, reaffirmed my desire to quit. I didn’t need a physical relapse to experience the negative feelings that would come with it.

If you find yourself dreaming about smoking and/or having a relapse, I suggest not viewing it as a negative experience, but rather, a positive one. It is simply another sign you are well and truly recovering and that the wondrous plasticity of your brain is doing its thing.

Dream on!



  1. I’ve Read Maybe A Hundred Online Testimonials About “The Smoking Dream”. Most People Have The Guilt/Relief Experience As Described In This Article. I’m 34 Days Cold Turkey, 25 Year Smoker, No Relapses. I WakeUp Most Mornings Dreaming That I’m Smoking. I Don’t Feel Guilt/Relief, Or Satisfaction Or Pleasure. I Almost Always Feel Nauseous And Scared. I’m Not An ExSmoker Yet, I’m Still A Smoker Who Just Isn’t Smoking. I Hope When I Turn The Corner And Am An ExSmokerThose Dreams Will Stop Or At Least Be Less Frequent.

    • You’re getting there Rebecca. Well done on 34 days, the hardest period is behind you. There are still tough days, but when you really think about those days, they are in all likelihood, equivalent to a good day during the early withdrawal period. The dreams do stop, I haven’t had one for months now. It really is a healing journey, things just gradually keep getting better over time.

      • I am one month in quitting cold turkey. It’s 4:00am just woken up from a vivid smoking dream. Makes sense, seems like its a winning battle.

  2. 2nd day of quitting, with the patch.
    I’m finding my triggers! Caffiene, chocolate, getting into car, not bad so far. Staying busy, sipping chamomile tea and water, chewing on straw. I know I have a long way to go but I’m going to beat this. Oh and I do have a friend that stopped smoking with me and that’s very helpful to have a buddy!

  3. Phil Mogridge says:


    34 days since my last smoke, and recently especially these last 3 days. I’ve been dreaming of smoking and i feel really guilty about it. In my dreams, it seems like i forgot that I’m not smoking anymore. The dream feel is so vivid, the bitter taste, the stimulant effect, the kick of dopamine, the stress relieving factor and other effects you can feel when you smoke a cigarette. But once i realize I don’t smoke anymore, I can feel the tremendous guilt, grief and remorse. The latest dream I had is that i almost cry when i realize in my dream that i’d quit smoking after having 4 cigarettes.

    During my smoking days, I smoked 5 – 8 half-sticks per day, for 8 years. And 2 – 5 sticks a day on the first 7 years. Overall i’ve smoked for 15 years. I tried quitting once or twice every year since i started smoking, I really hate smoking and really regretful of the day when a good friend of mine give me my first stick and told me to inhale the nicotine to my lungs. Just one puff and I get addicted to it. I bought my first pack the day after it and smoked it for ten days, 2 sticks a day, while hiding to my friends and family. I smoke till it became a bad habit, smoke my way out till i graduated from college, be friends with colleagues who smoke, smoke on parties and smoke every after meal and smoke every where. First few years i build the smoking habit and try to associate it on things , events and activities. Until it became natural for me to do it during those activities .

    Two years ago, i’ve discovered my dream profession and started working towards mastering the craft. Reading books about it and listening to people who’s a master of the field. And last year I promised my self that to be able to master the craft, I need to drop my smoking habit so last january o started cutting gradually cutting the number of puffs and number of cigarettes, on april i reach to point where i only smoke 2 cigarettes a day. On April 7 2014, Monday, one heck of stressful day. I got 5 more cigarettes. I decided to smoke all of it. Throw away my lighter and since that day, i’ve never look back to smoking. I feel really glad. Still i can’t believe I did it. Ive felt the nastiness of withdrawal, the cravings and the temptations when people around me smoke. Still i have not give in. But when the fourth week enter, i’m dreaming about smoking on a daily basis, even when on a short nap. Which really left a feeling of guilt when i wake up.

    What will this nightmare stop?

    Thank you very much.



  4. Wow, it’s not just me having strange realistic dreams! I quit smoking and nearly on my 3rd week and doing great, but i have had a couple of dreams where i have smoked a cigarette and felt awful – i even recall coughing and the thing tasting awful but really scared because i felt i’d become addicted again. In the dream i start crying with shame and guilt and continue to smoke more cigarettes. I wake up relieved that i still haven’t touched one, but these dreams of smoking make me realise how much i want to be smoke-free so it proves that i am adjusting to being a non-smoker and that nicotine no longer holds me prisoner… good luck to all quitters – it’ll get easier!!!

  5. I quit smoking over a year ago and I’m still having cravings and experiencing dreams about smoking. My body just can’t seem to get over it.

  6. 3 years 2 months since my last cigarette and I still have intense dreams where I am smoking.(last one only 2 nights ago)
    When I wake up I am confused at first and then the realization that it is just a dream followed by huge relief that I am not smoking.
    The brain is a funny thing.

  7. I am almost three weeks into my quit after smoking for 40 years. I have been feeling great due to exercise and lots of prayer. However, I too, have had some of the most realistic dreams about smoking. I feel somewhat panicked when I have them, for it takes me a bit of time to determine if they were real or not. Nevertheless, once discovered that they are not real, I am relieved. It is getting easier but I feel, at least for myself, that I must stay vigilant and speak the truth to myself daily that, ” I am no longer a smoker.” I look forward to the day that I truly believe this.

  8. Hey,

    I want to share my experience with you, I quit smoking since january the second, 2015. Yesterday I had a dream about smoking cigarettes which is abnormal for me personally. It’s the first time I experienced this type of dream, and I have done some research about this typical case and I mentioned it’s a stereotype for everyone. I am so curious about tonight dream. loool

    Keep on guys we are in the right track

  9. Hi,

    Last night i dreamed of smoking but when i woke up i didnt feel any guilt. But the migraine is pressing my head so hard :(( for weeks already and i started vomitting too already this morning. But it wont stop me from quitting! We can do this guys. For the better health and life of us.

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