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.

      • I’m currently 51 days smoke free after going cold turkey. My last cig was on new years day. I have had a few vivid dreams about smoking so far and have woken up relieved and pondering whether ive actually smoked or not. Thankfully not. I’m glad to have read this article and know now that im well and truly in full recovery mode. I met a business associate at a cafe last week and he asked if i was a smoker, as he wanted to go to the smoking section of the cafe for some sheesha, I replied no, im not a smoker but i will join you anyway. Watched him smoke for over an hour and not once was i tempted to have a puff. Keep on going guys, the benefits of quitting will far outweigh the pleasure of having a smoke. 🙂

        • Damian Sanders says:

          Hey Bongs! Good job! Keep up the good work! I to just wanted to say, that I quit on New Years day as well in 2011. Yep! 7 years strong this New Years. Can’t wait to celebrate! It’s so crazy! As I am writing this today, I woke up this morning from a cigarette smoking dream. In the dream after I realized what I was doing, I felt so, so guilty. But as I woke up, I was relieved once I realized it was all a dream. So take it from me, those facts written above are true. But now from looking it up today, I am relieved that I am not alone. But when you wake up and realize it was all just a dream. Like it says up above. The desire grows stronger to stay tobacco free. Any one reading this, be strong, know that you are doing the right thing. And I’ll see you at the too! Trying to get my ten year belt. There are other people I know been cleaner longer then me. My idles, God first of course. Stay Smoke Free and Proud…..Salute~ #7 year vet, SMOKE FREE!!! #SigningOff

    • I have been 70 days smoke free!! Wow, it feels amazing to be able to say that. I am finally free from that nasty smell, I’ve had to apologize and forgive myself all at the same time for doing something so hurtful to my perfectly created human machine. I have also thank my body for being so generous and kind all those years I’ve neglected it. I started having dreams about smoking after 60 days of not smoking but I tell ya, I thought with these dreams I would be tempted to go back but nope! October 28th 2018 I vowed to never touch another cigarette for the rest of my life. It really hasn’t been difficult honestly, I’ve smoked 22 years and it was easier than I thought it would be to quit. To be successful in quitting the most important part to have covered is the mental aspect of it, once you are truly mentally prepared and determined the rest is easy!!

  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.

  10. I haven’t had a smoke for 21 days. A couple of nights ago I dreamed I bought a pack of smokes but I did not smoke one. When I woke up I was aggravated with myself that I hadn’t at least smoked in my dream, how funny is that?
    I’m thinking that if I can turn them down in a dream that maybe I’ve got a shot at success this time☺

  11. tracy hinson says:

    Im at 2 days quit after 25 years im holding on its not easy but im trying at least im not in pain like i was

  12. tracy hinson says:

    3 days still holding on not too bad cold turkey works

  13. tracy hinson says:

    4th day cravings are worse today

  14. Its been 24 days ..smoke free. .after 16 years smoking..first week was horrible. .the 3rd day was the worst. ..over that..now had a couple of dreams that I was smoking ..1st dream I was angry I smoked…this dream last night …I knew was a dream some how. ..the dreams are weird..but glad I’m smoke free! !

  15. Gavin Morrison says:

    I have had the dream twice this month and it is horrible waking up dissappointed with myself that I smoked. the relief is great when I realise its a dream though.

    I quit smoking 2 months ago today and I am reading all your comments about how you are struggling through cold turkey, that must be torture. I read Allen Carr’s book ‘The only way to stop smoking’. I havent had a cigareete since finishing the book and apart from one craving on the 2nd day I havent had any more. Im surprised how easy it is! Give it a go if you are struggling.

  16. Vinesh Goel says:

    Its been only 12 days. I have been smoking past 8 to 10 years. I did it so much that i scribbled it on my system psychologically. Happy moments, weak moments i needed to just smoke. Smoking was me. I was smoke. Terrible things happened. Financial, emotional, professional insecurities, loneliness, helplessness. There was no one but one companion. Cigarette Smoking. But nothing could really make a wrong, right. I know the journey has just begun. I cry when i am alone. Like right now. I haven’t reached very far but this time i have made up my mind. I WONT TOUCH THAT BASTARD AGAIN. NEVER! And just today morning i saw myself walking back from office and in my hand i am done with half of a smoke. My heart skips a bit. I realize i already smoked one and i am puffing through another half. When all of a sudden i realized that i had quit. I had promised. I broke my promise again. The dream broke and i woke up shattered and shocked. Pray for me please!! I want to break free of this habit. I want to heal……My wife said she’d leave me if i smoke again. She loves me very much. And i broke her trust in the past. I lied to her. She doesn’t trust any more. I will never do it again and regain my love and trust…..Let us all vouch to kick the butt forever…never do it again….never ever….Amen….(Sorry i am a bit too emotional)

  17. Anyone who is struggling to cope after quitting cigarette, please try reading Allen Carr Easyway to stop smoking. I smoked for 25 years and when I decided to quite after reading the book, there was no struggle, no pain or no withdrawal. It was very easy because book conditions your mind. But you have to read entire book – at times you may find it repetitive or boring – but thats how it works. And once you stop – never ever pick another cigarette – even after few years of quitting. That one cigarette will reset your entire effort. You have to read the book again and second time it is not as effective because your mind plays game.
    Dreams – yes you will have but waking up with realization that it was just a dream is a real pleasure.

  18. It’s been about 6 months or so for me. Watched a life long smoker, and good friend of mine die from Lung Cancer.. Went threw the whole process with him, Biopsy to his time in hospice. So, woke up one morning and said ENOUGH! gave away all of my lighters. Last night had the most peculiar dream, Saw myself smoking Camel straights, my favorite cigarette, the sensation was so real , I could feel the smoke filling my lungs. Afterwords feeling the guilt, a homeless person came by hoping to bum a smoke or panhandle , or otherwise con me out of some cigarettes, and I remember giving him most of them out of the soft pack of cigarettes. -have been thinking about having a cigarette, we sell them where I work.. I keep telling myself ‘no’ we are done with that part of your life.

  19. I’m 20 weeks today…and I kinda like the smoking dreams. I’ve had 4 and at first I wake up like, “Oh no, I failed”, and then realize I got to have a cigg without really smoking…It kinda helped take the edge off. ?

  20. Vinesh goel says:

    Today i complete one year. I commented on this post one year back when i was 12 days into quitting. It’s a wonderful feeling. A feeling of achievement and the quit continues. Let’s keep going.

  21. I am around 7 months smoke and 3 and a half weeks patches free. I smoked for 21-22 years.

    Only in the past couple of days I haven’t had a smoking dream, I was shocked at what I was doing (in my dream), I remember looking into my ashtray and finding 5 cigarette butts! In the dream I though, ‘It’s all over, all that effort for nothing’. Woke up just after this point and felt relief!
    I never could have quit without the patch.

  22. Ooops, I needed to proof read that.
    What I meant to say was, after so many months post cigs and three weeks out from the nicotine patch, I find it odd that I am experiencing smoking dreams now.
    My cravings for cigarettes are hardly there at all while awake.

  23. Good to know I am not the only one with these dreams. I quit smoking cold Turkey around 3 years ago (sorry have stopped counting days after a month or so), I was a heavy smoker (1-2) packs a day for around 9 years or so. for the first 3-4 moths of not smoking I saw smoking dreams every other night nearly every night, where during the dream I knew I didn’t want to smoke and somehow I still smoked while feeling terrible that after so many days of being smoke free I still gave in…. needless to say usually I woke up after the smoking part feeling very down. Now that it has been so long since I stopped smoking, I occasionally still see the dream, especially when during the day before the dream I got a slight urge to smoke (yes you will occasionally get those even after years, however very seldom and it will be fine as long as you keep in mind that any urge does not last more than a minute or so). anyways sorry for such a long post. wish you all good health.

  24. 50 years of smoking (mostly roll ups) quit on 5th. march 2016, 32 weeks, today, like days over past 6 months, i have cold like symptoms, dreams of smoking, well not smoking but i am rather rolling them up & just looking at them, knowing i dont smoke anymore, get in quite a state, anxiety, then wake up in a cold sweat cuss myself & get up. It is assuring after reading what symptoms may occur during the cessation, only 17 percent now smoke in the U.K. ALL THE BEST TO YOU QUITTERS

  25. I woke up from a dream where I was smoking today.It’s been 2 months since I stopped smoking and I think that might be triggered by that I’m selling ciggarettes for a living. I was relieved when I woke up and realised it was a dream.

  26. It’s been three weeks since I stopped smoking after twenty years. Fell and broke my ankle and have spent the time since staying with my parents while I recover from the break. This was probably the only way to quit for me. I tried nicotine lozenges once but with no success. Here though, I cannot smoke and have had no cravings while awake. Still have the dreams almost every night though. It’s not so bad though, it’s kinda nice. You get to cheat without really cheating. I’m determined to stay strong once I’m recovered and back into my life again. I’m done with cancer sticks forever!

Speak Your Mind