The Quitters Flu.

Man with Quitters FluHave you recently quit smoking and now find yourself feeling sick? You may be suffering from the quitters flu; a number of symptoms that combine in such a manner they  resemble a cold or flu like illness. Most smokers who quit will experience it.


What are the Quitters Flu Symptoms?

As mentioned above, quitters flu symptoms resemble those that tend to accompany the common cold or flu. These can be headaches, flashes of hot and cold, chest congestion, cough, sore throat and both nasal and sinus congestion.

The moment you quit smoking your body begins to heal and as a result, these physical symptoms will tend to occur. It is a normal part of the process, though discussing such symptoms with your doctor is still a good idea, even if for peace of mind and reassurance.

Perhaps the most notable of these flu like symptoms are those associated with the respiratory system.

A microscopic photo of cilia lining the human wind pipe. Image made available using creative commons licence.

The lungs contain small hair like structures called cilia. (They look more like sea anemones.) These cilia, naturally sweep particles out of the wind pipe to be expelled by coughing.

Tobacco smoke coats the lungs with tar and disrupts this process by preventing the cilia from working. When you quit smoking, the tar begins to break down and the cilia once again start cleaning.

Quitters will likely notice a blackish – brown and often speckled phlegm as a result. Given the amount of rubbish that builds up in a smokers lungs, this can be quiet extreme and often takes time to settle down.

The ability to breath easier and maintain a greater state of healthiness, more than make up for the unpleasantness of quitters flu. The symptoms of quitters flu should also start to settle after a few weeks.

How long does Quitters Flu Last?

The length of time you may suffer quitters flu symptoms is variable. Some ex smokers may only suffer the symptoms for a number of days. For others it can last for months. My own quitters flu lasted on and off for several months, though only extreme for short periods of time, most notably over the first couple of weeks.

Over the longer term, I found that exercise enhanced some of the symptoms, but also helped clear out my lungs. If the symptoms feel quite serious or last for more than a few days at a time, I would suggest speaking to a doctor as you may actually have a genuine cold or flu!

What I personally find interesting, is that since quitting smoking two years ago, I have only suffered a genuine cold (virus) twice, and suffered for no longer than 72 hours. Prior to quitting, I would suffer two or three colds a year and they would last for around two weeks!


Tips for Managing the Quitters Flu.


Rest During the Early Stages.

Quitters flu is at its worst in the early days of a quit smoking campaign. It may help to rest and be as comfortable as possible, while allowing the healing process to happen. Consider drinking warm herbal teas to aid relaxation and relieve some of the symptoms.

Eat Quality Foods and Micro Nutrients.

The body gets the majority of nutrients needed to heal, from the foods we eat. If these foods are of a high quality and have sound  nutritional value, the more building blocks your body will have to aid the process. Consider eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and less processed and over cooked foods.

When You Feel Ready, Get Some Exercise.

Exercise promotes healthy lung function and helps accelerates the cleaning process. Consider starting with a daily, fast paced, five minute walk around the block.



  1. Didn’t start on ciggy’s started on gunga after a car accident on 1/1/84 i was fit and healthy but after app 28 years of smoking i am now fitted with a pacemaker after heart attack 3 years ago stopped for 3 or 4 months back then but got stoned felt good and off i went.Stopped the gunga in September and started to cut down ciggy’s stopped on 1st December and last week or so have been feeling like shit totally but after reading Quitters Comments i realise that as strange as it seems it is part of the HEALING PROCESS and i also realise that lighting up would be giving up and that’s not an option,if i keep going EVENTUALLY this crappy throat this lethargy i am feeling and all these other little bibs’n’bobs that are trying to trip me up will disappear and i should start to feel like a NON SMOKER…..

  2. So it’s been a week. Cold turkey tobacco and weed. This quitters flu is still going. In anti biotics now. Hope it gets easier!

  3. hi i only smoked ciggys in joints and have been for 14 years about 3 a day gave up 4 days ago when all of a sunnen my heart starts beating really fast called a amblance they said i had tacycardic they took bloods xrays couldt find anything wrong so it sceared me so much that im to afraid to smoke anymore but today have been expierience cold and flu like syptoms is this normal? ?? Im 29 female

  4. I’m into my second week of not smoking. I started with a severe sore throat 4 days after my last cigarette and I’m now feeling tragic with full on flu symptoms. As much as I’m feeling sorry for myself right now with a head that feels like it will explode at any minute and feeling like an elephant is sat on my chest I know that my body is working so hard repairing itself from the damage I have done to it over the years. This coupled with cravings is bound to make us feel lethargic, emotional and generally out of sorts but honestly nothing bad is happening quite the opposite really. Time is a great healer, don’t give up just give it a chance.

  5. Christopher says:

    I am now at hour 51, and this sucks. But the flu symptoms are so heavy that I don’t even think about cigarettes. Took a long time to poison myself, i think I can handle a couple weeks of misery. Does anyone else remember vomiting while trying to quit?

    • Hi Christopher, I don’t recall vomiting myself. Though I am sure some folk do. I would consider talking to your doctor and seeing if he/she can help. Hang in there!

    • I never vomited but got nauseous the first couple of weeks. I’m on week 5 now. I get short of breath now for some reason and was never before. That started the last few days. I’ve been using eucalyptus cough drops to help.

    • I threw up… All mucus and some black stuff (tar maybe) it felt good to throw up since I been coughing non stop since I quit. The worst part for me is the cough at night… I haven’t slept a full hour at night yet. Any suggestions I will take at this point… It’s day 6 for me… Long way to go but it’s real this time… I have a 3 year old and I want to live to see my grandchildren

    • leandri says:

      Yep, had almost constant nausea for the first couple of days and now only rarely. Stands to reason as nicotine completely messes up your GI tract and it goes through some upsets as it heals.

  6. Wow! These flu like symptoms are harsh. I look like the guy on the old Nyquil commercial. Sneezing, coughing, puffy eyes and my nose is gushing! Day 7……….Let me off this monster! Cigs are B A D!

  7. Its been 5 day now that I quit Smoking and going through this Quitters Flu phase. Everytime, while coughing, I spit yellowish phelgm. Its irritating as well as disgusting, however this time I have made up my mind for not touching Cigarette any more… FOR BETTER LIFE

  8. I quit smoking cigs and weed and drinking 3 weeks and 3 days ago after going to the er for lung damage from a bad batch of hash oil which messed my lungs up!!! the doctor says im lucky to be alive and the realization that i have a baby on the way and god putting me in check and working out like i go to work everyday was enough for me to stop, it has been hard but i havent gave in to the temptation of smoking.. quit cold turkey and me beeing a 5 year recovering addict to H can quit smoking i know all thoes other smokers can too… Keep going its worth your health in the end and not spending all that money for tobbacco companys products killing us… i rather buy a gun and a single bullet and do that way instead of spending thousands of dollars and the pain at the end of death. My grandpa died from lung cancer and i saw the pain he had to endure.. thats not for me.. KEEP your heads up and keep it up with not smoking!!

  9. I have been a heavy smoker for 10 years nd smoked weed aswell haven’t have a j or a cig fa 5 weeks now nd it’s been very hard I’ve had no tablets or patches jst done it on will power cos I have a lil girl t think about only thing that’s bothering me is I have a tight chest not really any pain jst feels dodgy I’ve gave it till tmoz t go see the doctors because it’s been like this fa about 5 or 6 days now

  10. Hello all I quit smoke jan.25 2014 after 20 years pack a day I have a weird feeling my throat since quit ( its not pain ) I’ve been to doc and had xrays blood work and all they have to say is allergies what do you people think

    • Hi Danny,

      I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that the weird feeling in the throat is the delicate tissue healing from the assault of smoking….I am 4 weeks quit today, and I have a strange sensation in my throat and in my ears. (It probably has something to do with high pollen counts and drainage from sinuses). I also feel like I make more saliva than before. I’ve actually drooled a few times. I think quitters all experience their own unique response to quitting the nicotine addiction….some seem to sail through it, others feel like they’re on death’s door and everything in between. I think you should feel good that your blood work and xrays have been clear. Keep up whatever it takes to stay healthy and away from the nicotine (I’ve begun to think of cigarettes as nicotine sticks instead of “cigs”). But, I do think the strange feeling in the throat is quite normal….If you’ve smoked for a long time, your body doesn’t really know what it is supposed to feel like without nicotine. Best wishes to us both!

      • ROSA REYES MALLA says:

        I quit 25 days ago for the second time, I have been going to the hospital and doctor’s office feeling miserable, with flu like symptoms and my throat feels like sand paper, I am not kidding you! I have taken all the medication there is in the book and I have decided to be patient and go through the healing process, one thing I know is that I will never go back to smoking and this is cold turkey quits, no help, no crutches but feel CONGESTED since then!

  11. On day 3, so sick with the flu I can’t even move. But reading all these comments have been keeping me going, it’s good hearing from people who are going through the same. It’s totally worth being sick for the day, by Monday of not smoking I’ll have saved as much as I would have gotten paid for the day. I live in canada, last pack of smokes I bought was over $16!

  12. Sgtkeebler says:

    This smokers flu reminds me of quitting heroin. After you quit heroin you get extremely sick, usually bed ridden for 2 weeks with diarrhea, you can’t stop kicking your legs all night and day, so you extremely tired but ambient, or any sleeping meds will not knock you out!!! and you have the flu like 10x’s worse. I’m quitting smoking cigs, but after going through heroin withdrawal cigarette flu is a piece of cake. I would not wish heroin withdrawal on my worst enemies. I see people complaining how bad cig withdrawal is but try withdrawing off Heroin and you will wish you were withdrawing off cigs instead. lol just my 2 cents. trying to just say cig flu is really nothing

  13. Danny et al,
    I quit two months ago (for the 5th or 6th time) and I have a nagging post-nasal drip again. I got a script from my doc for a nasal solution which takes a few days or longer to work. The drip does go away finally. STAY OFF THE BUTTS folks!

  14. omg, THANK YOU! For everyone who has posted exactly what I am going through! Its been three full days without a smoke and getting over a severe sinus and double ear infection BUT I AM DONE smoking….cant take it anymore, please tell me the audible wheeze in my chest will go away, its driving me crazy! Keep up the good work all!

  15. It’s almost 48 hours since I had a cigarette. I’ve never felt so wired… About six hours ago I started to have pains in my chest and the back of my throat. At times the pain is a tight feeling. The pain also makes me nauseous and it’s not a really sharp pain but a dull one. I’m hopefully at the height of feeling so irritated. I’ve been smoking since I was sixteen- five years ago now. I know that a fortnight, or hell, even a few months of this I can handle. I’d rather die peacefully in seventy years time in my bed, than in ten years, hooked up to a breathing machine and fighting for every excruciating breath. Yeah, I can do this.

  16. after 37 years i have 88 days today i started soon as i learned how to strike a match i said something i never said before someone asked me for a cig and i said no i dont smoke no more i quit what a strange experience that was anyway this fresh air is making me dizzy on occasion i hope that changes once in a while i cant breathe and wheez a bit i had the sore throat and the double ear ache im hoping i get better

  17. Hi My name is Mary I did not get sick in order to stop said I am stopping used an e- cig did not like it,too costly first of all,then I went to a vape shop was OK for a bit but kept me coughing and still coughing,when I quit I would vomit green looking saliva now it is clear when I go to coughing hard that’s when i spit up whitish saliva but I have gain 20 pounds but I can breath so I keep cough drops or cough medicine in my purse smoke free since Oct,23,2013 not one cig,or vape shop ,,,,whoo hoooo

  18. Seven weeks it has been after 28 years feel great still have the words in my head -Just do it- Last 3 weeks nose will not stop running and sneezing which brought me to this site and answers some questions
    Booked in to the docs in the morning so will follow up and will never have even a puff again

    • Johno! I need to know how it turned out for you! I have read all of these posts and yours is the closest to what I’m feeling. I too have smoked for about 28 years and I have quit for 7 weeks now, the first 4 with help and the last 3 cold. I don’t have allergies but all of a sudden I can’t stop sneezing, the nose keeps running and I feel sick! I can’t quit quitting cause I don’t want to go through these 7 weeks again!

  19. I’ve been in the quitting process for some time now by quitting but every now and then relapsing for short periods before quitting again. Anyhow, I’ve been off them for good for about 2 months now, it seems like every 20 minutes I must clear my throat of small nuggets of mucus. they started out being kind of light green/brown but now they are just whitish or clear. It seems that I also get discomfort in the chest area, it feels as if there is air or something trapped inside it. Is this sensation normal while going through the ‘quitters flu’ ? Many thanks.

    • Hi All, I Quit cold Turkey around 55 days , Anixty, Felt bad with sore throat , ear ache and sptting blood in saliva in the moring no Cough to me . Bllod , Ches Xray, Throat scopr all cleared ; After read all comments i am feeling good , I want to stay strong , I hope all baove symptoms will g

  20. Monday was my three month point. I had been a smoker for about 40 years.
    While I rarely have cravings now, I still feel relatively ill. Muscle pains, congestion, and that “throat thing” feels like something caught in there. Probably the most annoying thing is that after about 2 days of quitting, I have lost my sense of smell, and thus my food tastes rather plain. Cooking is my hobby and I miss the aroma as I cook. Sometimes, without notice, sense of smell is back, then leaves. Strange thing is that when I cook now, I take a taste, blow my nose. That’s the only way I can smell or taste. I loss count how many times I have “quit” but this time it seems different. I don’t Want to smoke any more. Does this sound similar to anyone?

    • Heather says:

      Sounds like you may have nasal polyps. I’ve had these several times, they are basically formed when your body is putting out nasal congestion faster than the membranes can excrete it so small sacks form in your nasal passages which block the air from getting to your olfactory which is where you smell things. The fact that you can taste something and then blow your nose and smell it suggest that the aroma is getting to your olfactory from the back side of your nasal passage rather than the front. Getting a cortisone shot or taking prednisone will usually make them subside. Sometimes surgery is necessary. I’d strongly suggest seeing a Ear, Nose and Throat doctor to see if this is the cause of your smell loss. Good luck to you!

    • ROSA REYES MALLA says:

      that is me, just like you are explaining it, sometimes I smell and taste and some days I have no taste no smell, and that funny feeling in the throat, this has been the worst time, I tried to quit before but this one, the worst, but not going back

  21. Tardis_Paronus says:

    I just quit smoking over this past Easter weekend, I was also already sick, so the choice was easy. I broke
    down and smoked a few two weeks ago, since that, none. I have been
    coughing up the usual brown crap and have many of the other symptoms described by everyone here. Today I started coughing up blood, bright red, deep red, even when I blow my nose.
    A few people suggested its worse for me because I smoked clove cigarettes for years.
    Has anyone else experienced this?

  22. colleen says:

    I am on day 64 of choosing not to smoke. I have been smoking for 30 years averaging 60 a day. my lungs feel so much clearer now mand being asmatic I have experienced some scary moments in the past. However I am struggling to focus and concentrate and tend to be drinking more alcohol than before. Is anyone else experiencing this. I dont want to smoke again, but would like to be able to be focused.

  23. Actual Nicotine Withdrawal Symptoms

    These are temporary and aren’t much fun. You might get none, some, or all and more!

    Your mind will play tricks on you and try to dominate your thoughts. Mood swings, loneliness, lack of concentration, emptiness, agitation, stress, anger, self-pity, and just general crankiness might happen. These psychological symptoms are explained more in Side Effects of Quitting Smoking.
    Headaches or a general heaviness. This is a classic smoking withdrawal symptom, often caused by your sinuses clearing out.
    Shaking, sweating or feeling very cold.
    Coughing, hacking, runny nose, wheezing and shortness of breath. Seems strange to get these when you’ve quit, but your body is ridding itself of years of tar and built-up residues. In other words, at last taking the opportunity of having a good clean-out.
    Insommnia is common. Well, it is stressful to quit and break your normal patterns. As with all stress — good or bad, sleep challenges can surface.
    Sour stomach or stomach pains. Your digestion might get out of whack for a little while.
    Pains, pains, pains. Some smokers get stomach cramps, sore gums, pains in chest… pains anywhere. Your mind and body are going through a healing crisis and they are going to remind you of what they are missing.
    Tiredness and a general zapped feeling.

  24. triumph says:

    Day three and a really sore throat. Day four aching back, dizzy and hot and cold just like the flu. Also sore eyes. I only smoked 5 a day for three years. Hang in there guys. This pain must be nothing like dying from cancer.

  25. christine says:

    I have been on a program for the last six months..finally stopped 20 days ago. The past five have been rough… this chat has helped me realized I have the flu like symptoms related to stopping.. Thanks for your help all!!! Never smoking again!!!

  26. I quit just over 50 days ago. Feeling a bit better. Hard to breathe at night …but exercise helps.

    • Jacqueline Green says:

      Hi John, I am glad in a way that you said that you have trouble breathing at night because I had an awful night last night, waking up feeling like I could hardly breathe. I am 6 weeks into quitting and have had a chest infection and now got the cold symptoms, so feeling pretty naff. Hopefully I will improve as time goes on. I have been given an inhaler and used that this morning and felt a little better. You posted on my birthday. :)

  27. Thanks for relating all the experiences. I have not had a cigarette in 10 days after 25 years of a 1/2 pack a day habit. Finally caught up to me, but this time it feels completely different. It’s like my body just said “enough”. No cravings, just quit cold turkey. But I have some really weird symptoms: chills, joint soreness, hot flashes, loss of appetite….. Just like the flu. This sucks but since I am only in for 10 days I will stick with it.

  28. I quit real cigs 2 weeks ago and I feel good right now. I started vaping instead and it seems to be doing it’s job. Although it is nothing like smoking for real of course. I seem to be going through the symptoms of a cold right now. Sore throat just came on me yesterday and I had a terrible nights sleep (though I seem to be waking a lot during the night recently anyway) I had muscle aches last week and weird dreams too. I know that these symptoms may last a good long while, so I won’t give in. The only thing I haven’t suffered from is headaches, and I’m a migraine sufferer! Hang in there everyone!

  29. Sidiki kouyate says:

    I thanks every one for chairing your experiece from sig withrouwal. Am in my second years since I stop smoking. I have undergone most of those symtoms. My only courage was none of this symtoms dont last for more than 72hours.And more am advancing in time more the pains are geting less. LETS DO IT.

  30. Hi! I was curious….I have been smoking for 7 years now. I only smoke about 6 cigarettes a day, so I decided to buy an e-cig to help me stop quitting. I have a TERRIBLE cough that has started since I started using the e cig and has lasted about a week. For the most part it is a dry cough that keeps me up at night but sometimes it’s flem but not too much. It is worse in the morning and at night. What has caused this? Any suggestions? Thanks!

  31. ha ha ha…it’s 8th day.. I had vomiting episodes for 5-6 times in evening after having stupid junk throat sore from next day..tried some home remedy for next two days n finally ended up to ENT doc for strep throat…he diagnosed me for tonsillolaryngititis and gave antibiotics…in all this process it’s almost 8 days I didn’t smoked…my sore throat got normal which caused from bacteria bt got headaches , chest congestion and throat congestion…irritated … feeling very depressed..anxiety n restlessness ….I felt something very serious happened to me…my blood reports n ECG r normal…bt don’t know y I just got this article n ur comments…..ha ha ha … means m ok…..I m getting smoking quitting symptoms…….guys I got my breath back oohhh….it’s the body who z recovering from nicotine…thank u guys…

  32. Well done to all of the quitters! day 5 for me and have the sorest throat it feels like cancer (not that I know what cancer really feels like) I’m on the patches so am still being fed nicotine. So can you get quitters flu on patches or should I go to the Doc?

  33. David Calabro says:

    Thanks everyone 55 days in now and have been experiencing all these symptoms that your all talking about thought I was going mad or dying , bloody doctors no one helps or tells you these things lucky for sites like this, thanks all good luck stay with it, 35 plus years my body is paying me back but it will be worth it it the long run

    • Hi everyone. 1 month smoke free after 30yrs of smoking im 46yr male. When i first quit. I ended up in hospital twice thinking i was having heart attack. Blood work EKG etc all normal. Second week I ended up getting this weird short of breath feeling and also felt very tired and dizzy. Plus I look like shit. Third week constipation hit was still short of breath. I had insomnia and if i walked any place id get a very weird breathing feeling . I feel very weak and tired but cant fn sleep. Now 4th week I feel a little better not as tired but still off schedule big time. I guess it can take up to 3months to feel 100 percent for some . Anyway i hope this helps some people that exp any of what i had to know its normal. I forgot to mention my pulse rate also dropped from mid 80s to the 60s now in the first week. GOOD LUCK HANG IN THERE!!!

      • btw i quit cold turkey

        • Hi all , yes the same things happened to me and is still happening ,I quit cold Turkey 63 days ago and I am coughing up crap like you wouldn’t believe ! and still have shortness of breath here and there but not as bad as the first few weeks and the soft tissue in my nasal passages and bronchael passages swell which make it hard to breath . Let me tell you quitting was nothing like I thought it would be hahaha I had a preconceived notion on some things for sure, I thought I would have a few bad craving and cough up some mucus and thats it !! Can you believe that hahaha , but I will say this after watching my M.I.L. die last week from smoking I do believe I can handle this minor discomfort so I can he healthy and be here for my family and kids.

  34. I quit smoking 36 days ago, I have had all the symptoms of cold and flu and it didn’t seem to be getting better. I got so anxious and thought I was dying. This site has so relieved my anxiety!!! Thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences it was so good to know I wasn’t alone. Never smoking again.

  35. thank you -thank-you to all of you!! i have been feeling so down these past few days and finding this great website has made me feel good again well at least i dont feel so alone anymore. Day 5 for me and it is so hard and i have been feeling things that got me so nervous but glad to see others have it too. Hang in there everyone and nice to know there is a place for me to go and feel good thanks!!!

  36. A H Chowdhury says:

    Today 20 Nov, is my 5th day without smoking after 25 years as smokers. I had one pack for last 4 yrs.
    I am having coldness, fever (99-100 degree), I am prepare to visit Doc to find any other reason for this fever. This site assures me those syndromes due to nicotine withdrawal. Thanks folks, for your input here.

  37. Day 19 on the patch and I found your site today by searching for “anger after quitting smoking.” Your site is wonderfully refreshing. I’ve been clicking around your site and the wealth of supportive information is truly helpful.

    I have had a bit of the quitters flu starting a couple days ago. Even in this, your site is reassuring. Though this quit is MUCH harder than my previous quit (that lasted for 2 years), you have reaffirmed there is no reason to give in to that damned “Just one more,” monster that whispers in my ear. You’ve been bookmarked, with my sincere gratitude!

  38. Haven’t smoked in a week and a half…been feeling absolutely rotten, weak, sore eyes, and nauseous. Thought it may have been psychosomatic manifestations of depression and anxiety, but now I’m thinking its a little bit of Quitters Flu. Knowing the symptoms go away is reassuring, but is there anything we can do to nullify the symptoms a bit? I’m a uni student and pretty busy, I can’t spend all day in bed lol

  39. Hi All,

    Its my 13th day, Oh GOD I’m suffering through quitters-flu from 7days,
    Someone please tell me how long will thid ful continue… ?


  40. Hi All,

    Its my 13th day, Oh GOD I’m suffering through quitters-flu past 7days.
    Someone please tell me how long will this ful continue… ?


  41. Thank you, I am feeling much happier now after reading your posts. Day 5 and I have a burning sensation in my chest that comes and goes, is that normal. A niggley cough has started this morning and I have had pains at the bottom of my ribs both sides that comes and goes. Anyone else experiencing that? I’m more determined than ever to quit.

    • I’m at 5 weeks without smokes after 15 years of 7-10 a day. Feeling same sensation in chest. Both sides off and on like right at the bottom of the rib cage. Comes and goes a few times a day. Also getting light pains in stomach. Had a couple brief colds but nothing too bad. Using lozenges. Good luck!

  42. Hello everyone, I read many of your post and keep up the valiant efforts to quit smoking. I too have quit going on three months now and COLD TURKEY!! So glad I did and Im never going back. The whole cigarette thing has gotten out of control. DEAR UNIVERSE, I AM HANDING THIS CIGARETTE THING BACK TO YOU I NO LONGER WANT TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT. Thanks I will now take my life back. :))

  43. 72 yr. old, 2-pack a day smoker for most of 40 years, active and recently retired. Quit cold turkey 4 mos ago on Sept 12, 2014 after reading Allen Carr’s book. Had I known how bad quitting was going to be I might not have tried. On the other hand, the side effects helped to remind me just how screwed up my body had become, although I would have said I felt fine as a smoker (I was in denial). I have experienced most of the side effects mentioned on the website and comments including crying many times a day (even in grocery stores), car, going to sleep, waking up in the morning, frustration/anger at the most insignificant things, and actually standing in my living room one time and screaming (anyone else done that?). Two weeks ago I started noticing a dry, gritty back of throat, and eyes, leading my doctor to suspect Sjogren’s syndrome for which I don’t think there is any definitive test to confirm diagnosis and is relatively benign but not totally so. I noticed that many of the signs and symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome are similar to side effects of nicotine withdrawal including, change in taste or smell, tingling toes/fingers, fatigue, difficulty in concentration and memory, brain fog, anxiety and depression. So, because all this would seem to be a big coincidence, I’ll wait a bit more time to see if the signs and symptoms are due to quitting and go away before I see a neurologist. I do not think it possible that I will ever smoke again and after only 4 mos quitting, it almost seems like I never smoked before … hate the smell, hate the dependence, and like having an extra $200/mo. So lucky to have run across this website, because quitting a long time nicotine addiction is not remotely like most websites tell you, which is mainly how to manage urges by doing fun things to take your mind off it — things you can’t possibly do while you’re going through the worst part! Some are quite humorous actually. All nicotine quitters stand firm and keep on quitting and thanks for making me realize I might be “normal” after all and not the freaky mess I’ve felt like for the last few months.

    • Hi Marilyn,

      I agree with you about how most sites do not come close to outlining what quitting entails or what it is like. I am going on week 4 being nicotine free this coming Sunday the 8th of February and these flu like symptoms have commenced. I have never been this far along into quitting before so I had no idea that these were the kinds of withdrawl symptoms i would experieincing…its all for the better though. Thank you for sharing your story and good for you for sticking to it!

    • Hey Marilyn

      I attended an Allen Carr clinic and have been stopped for 2 weeks today..walked in there as a 20 a day smoker for 45 years and came out a non-smoker!! Fantastic, recommend to everyone. I love being “normal” non-smoker but I too am feeling pretty crappy!! Sometimes my breathing is so bad I feel like its a panic attack;I have the worst heartburn..feel like am having a heart attack sometimes. My head is in another hard to concentrate and always tired. Today my flu symptems began..Uh-oh!! Bring it on!! I can’t wait to get all of this crap out of my body!! As a nurse, I care for many poorly people (mostly smoking related)! Bet they would give their right arms to swap their symptons for mine!! Keep strong and keep going people!! oh..and it doesn’t help the grammer either hehe

  44. I quit smoking agian about the 7th or 8th time a couple weeks ago. I keep thinking i can drink and not smoke but i finally got the point that i have to stop drinking at least while im going through this phase. And i have horrible chest and throat pains. I feel like someone is sitting on my neck and chest. It is horrible. I can only take a half breath. I feel like im going to die its horrible. My body is telline thats it. Thankfully i havent got any cravings at all. And they only come up when im drunk. So im just going to stop drinking during this process. I was reading through your guy’s storys. And they inspired me. Im only 19 and started when i was 16. So my body will heal very quick. But i just wanted to say that. And i wish every one luck with the there quiting!!!

    • Hi Johnny,

      I hate to be the one to tell you, but tobacco and alcohol go hand in hand. Just quit drinking too, it’s not any harder than quitting smoking alone, almost easier in a lot of ways. I know that it doesn’t seem like it, but there is nothing good about alcohol either.

  45. Hi. I have smoked a pack a day of Newport 100 daily for 23 years and I have been tobacco-free for 68 days. I have been on four different anabiotic since then with what I feel are respiratory infection sinus infections ear infections nasal congestion flu symptoms and it just makes me want to go buy a pack of cigarettes. Because of the antibiotics I have thrush now and I am 42 years old. I have never had that in my life. I am so tired of feeling sick all the time. I have no energy I don’t even wear make up anymore because my eyes are tearing all the time or I’m sneezing and blowing my nose. I just want this to stop. My nose eyes and four head are constantly in pain and I even feel like I have two eggs but I believe it’s because of my ears. How long is this going to last?

    • Im going on 6 months. For me the worst was over at 5 1/2 months. I still feel like I have the flu but its not as bad.

  46. 15 years – 1 pack per day. Day 3 quit. Vapeing gets lots of hate but so far is working for me. For people who want to quit but patches and cold turkey didn’t work (my case) I highly recommend the high end vapes. Disposables didn’t work for me. Don’t really understand all the negativity about vaping. Although there is limited science behind it at this point it is much better than smoking and other quit-smoking techniques have side effects as well. Was almost resigned to being a smoker forever but so far replacing with vaping has been very effective for me. I feel it is much less painful than other methods I tried in the past and also less daunting.

  47. I was a light smoker – only 3 cigs a day for 4 year, but my body was still addicted to the nicotine. I thought it wasn’t that bad, but the flu taught me that even this small amount was enough to fill my body with crap. I had quit for a week, had phlegm and coughing all the time, then it got a bit better so the cravings got me and I had 2 cigs 3 days ago. Stupid idea!! Now I’m back at square one with sore throat (thought it was cancer. thank god I found this website!), coughing, feels like something is stuck in my throat 24\7 etc. Hope I don’t relapse again. I’m a 25 year old female from Israel. Thanks for all the support!

  48. So I quit everything cold turkey hvet smoked green since September, My last Drink was 01,01,15, 20 days 16 hrs ago I waked away from my only reason addiction the first few days was easy except the craving the next few a bit tired, bad dreams, but nothing major, days 19 and 20 cold symptoms have arrised nothing black or brown just green curious after smoking for 22 years is this normal.

  49. its 5 days of quiting smoking and now i have a chest infection and scor throat i am not feeling well it seems that someone is driving train on my chest.i am feeling too much pain thankyou guys for shairing your views.InshaAllah i’ll recover and get well soon ..

  50. Been a non smoker for 18d 1h 20min as I’m writing this comment..2nd attempt, 20perday 39yo smoker for 1st attempt started august2011 lasted for 18mo, this time I’m stopping for good. Quitter flu didn’t hit me until my 10th day and I’m still having it now, mucus all the time without sneezing. As I’m looking for this symptom is how I bumped into this site, thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one…having nasal congestion all the time is pretty disturbing as I appeared to sound sick all the time..the irony is even when i was a smoker I’d like to look healthy all the time least i know this time I’ll be healthy for real, it’s just a healing process. My skin is undeniably visibly improving over the first 3d…no more smoking is my promise to my family..and most of all, to my own self.

  51. Ok day 5 been smoking for 12yrs about 1 1/2 packs a day i have been in sever pain i cant eat due to my throat being so soar and my ears throb and sting at the same time not to mention the runny nose i have gone threw 10 boxes of tissues cant sleep ggrrrrrr this is horrible but i am not giving up i did this to myself i will fix it i will beat the cancer it is causing i CAN &WILL do this

    • You go girl, no pain, no gain. At the end you’ll be greatful to your effort.
      Try to eat healthy and exercise, drink lots of water with lemon in it and share your experience with others. You’ll see, time flies and before you notice you’ll be clean. Good luck

  52. I’ve smoke almost a pack everyday for 22 years and for 16 years smoked weed almost daily. I stopped smoking 22 days ago and I started right away from day one with juice fasting a.k.a Juice Cleansing or detox diet ( read it on Wikipedia )
    I also stopped drinking coffee, alcohol , stopped sugar, salt, fat, wheat products and processed food. Basically I quit everything that can be considered as “extremely unhealthy” in one day. I also started jogging and exercising 3 days a week. I also drink from 3 to 4 liters of water… I know I’m on the right path to an heathy future but there’s still a long way to go. As I don’t have any cravings and cigarette smoke really makes me nauseous I know that I won’t smoke ever again. I’m detoxing really easy (I think) due to my diet and extra effort my giving my body some exercise otherwise it would have been much harder I guess. But even with such an healthy approach to clean my system, not everything is going smoothly. Now, 22 days later, my throat hurts, I have the feeling like something is tickling it wich makes me cough a lot, I feel very tired and moody (specially at the end of the day) I have some sort of migraine, my nose runs sometimes very thing clear nasal discharge (and not that thick mucus like back in my smoking days). I only hope that all these complains are way of my body telling me that everything is healing and that it’s totally part of the show.
    One great thing it’s also happening as I can breath better and have more energy to exercise-I’m loosing weight and building muscle tissue.
    I can’t way to experience the feeling of being totally clean but for now there’s still a lot of work to be done. Good luck everyone who’s quitting. It won’t be easy but it will be worth everything.

  53. I was a smoking for around 31 years. I quit every time when I was pregnant the last time I was pregnant I quit for 8 years than started again. This time around I’m quiting for good it has been 81 days. the first month felt pretty good, second month my throat was so dry it was so sore sucked on a lot of hard candies. Third month tired all the time, sore throat all the time, swollen glands. Low grade fevers, ears itchy and popping all the time. Coughing, dryness of throat again. This has been going on a month now, since I’m almost on my fourth month of quiting. I just want to start feeling better. I know this post as been going for a while, is there anyone out there that was on here a year ago. I would really like to hear how you are today. Thanks.
    I’m getting married in 2 months and I’d like to be healthier.

  54. Jan Felix Cortel says:

    Hi! I would like to ask a question. I have been spitting out saliva what’s surprising is that there are little flecks of unknown substance. Is this normal?

  55. Its been a month since I quit smoking, but the symptoms are horrible I spend the whole of my day spitting green sneezing green I paid a visit at the doctors took medicines antibiotics anti allergies but it did no good, but I tried inhaling steam and drinking some herbal green tea and that really relieved me of this all day coughing and sneezing, guys quit today no cigs n e-cigs don’t go for the alternates just quit…:)

  56. I have completely stoped smoking for the last 4days. Now I have heavy running nose and cough . Also eyes are wattering. Advice should I have to consult a doctor.


  57. I smoked 16 years and just stopped 7 months ago. i have no cravings. I have gained 35 pounds, shortness of breath, fatigue, chronic allergies and chronic sinus. i really need some advice.

  58. I am on day 5 of no smoking… Not too bad. Smoked for a good 12 years. Decided to stop last week because my 6 yr old told me to. I am dealing with congested nose… Other than that not too bad. Get slight feelings of anxiety here and there. I am unfortunately having a tiny pinch of dip here and there. Bought a can the day I quit and can is still full. I almost not longer have urges for cigs and the dips is gross so I almost never use it… I am trying, it is worth it to be there for my son and daughter. Smoking was the worst habit I ever picked up.. I am glad I am putting that habit behind me.

  59. Those E cigs haven’t been around long enough, I don’t trust them, it is more chemicals you’re inhaling just different ones. You’re just switching monsters. Like drinking beer instead of vodka .

  60. Matt cook says:

    I agree Debra, I’ve tried quitting using various nicotine replacement in the past but I always go back. This time it’s cold turkey for me.

  61. I actually got really upset that a pack of cigarettes was $8. I bought them anyway.
    But that was the last pack I ever bought. (at least so far) I went the next day and bought an e-cigarette and all this fixings with a low dose of nicotine (comparable to the amount of cigarettes I smoked 3-5 a day). In 2 weeks I stepped that down to half. and by the end of a little over a month I have stopped entirely with ZERO cravings. I still drink alcohol, and don’t even have cravings then.
    While you’re not wrong, I do think that used as a cessation aid for a short period of time is less problematic than a life time of back and forth between smoking and not smoking.

  62. Hahaha… true that!!

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