The Dangers of Stopping Smoking

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 08/31/2023

Are you planning to quit smoking cold turkey? You might want to think twice about using this method due to the possible dangers I will discuss in this article. 

RELATED: Why People Smoke Cigarettes

In this article:

  1. What Is Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey?

  2. How Do You Quit Smoking Cold Turkey?

  3. People Start to Experience Weight Gain If They Quit Smoking Cold Turkey

  4. How Nicotine Affects the Body

  5. How to Stop Smoking Correctly

  6. Natural Ways to Quit Smoking the Right Way

What You Should Know If You Quit Smoking Cold Turkey


What Is Quitting Smoking Cold Turkey?

Before I discuss the dangers of quitting smoking cold turkey, let me briefly talk about what it is. Cold turkey means stopping smoking suddenly. This means you immediately stop smoking without any help from a medical professional or doctor or the use of products to aid in quitting. All your support comes from combating cravings and your mental strength or willpower. 


How Do You Quit Smoking Cold Turkey?

People use various methods to quit smoking cold turkey, and usually create their own program. Some set a specific date on when to stop smoking, while others just suddenly stop smoking without planning. Another technique common in smoking cessation is using mental strength to overcome smoking cravings.

Cold turkey quitting needs more planning for you to achieve success, though. This can include the following:

  • Setting aside the money you save from buying cigarettes for a later self-reward

  • Getting support from your loved ones about quitting smoking

  • Altering smoking routines you were used to 

  • Trying other, healthier, activities to replace your smoking habit

  • Avoiding situations related to smoking


People Start to Experience Weight Gain If They Quit Smoking Cold Turkey

Man measuring belly with tape measure | The Dangers If You Quit Smoking Cold Turkey | what happens when you quit smoking

This is what I have witnessed with many chronic smokers who abruptly stop smoking— they start gaining weight, which is especially evident in the stomach due to high adrenal levels. Then, they start having problems with their heart and blood pressure. I know this doesn’t happen to some people, but I’ve observed many chronic smokers who have this problem when they suddenly quit.

RELATED: A Quick Test For Adrenal Fatigue


How Nicotine Affects the Body

Nicotine is a drug that triggers certain body chemicals called neurotransmitters, which are hormone-like chemicals that travel through the nervous system.

Hormones are chemicals that travel through the blood. Nicotine in cigarettes triggers the neurotransmitters responsible for the stimulation of the adrenal gland and other body parts.

Over time, a chronic light or heavy smoker triggers the adrenal to the point where they start to feel relaxed when cigarette smoking. Nicotine dilates the arteries around the heart, so it makes you feel relaxed when you smoke. Nicotine also relaxes the bronchial tubes so it makes you feel like you can breathe better. Over time, it becomes less effective so some people feel the need to smoke more just to create that same effect.

Bronchial Tubes Definition: Delicate pipes connecting the lungs and throat that help take air into the lungs. 

People genuinely smoke to reduce stress. Nicotine is just a drug stimulating certain chemicals in your body which are causing a lot of health issues. It’s an illusion that your stress level is going down, when the truth is, it is really going up. Over time, the receptor that receives that chemical to the adrenal, the brain, and other parts of the body starts to become downgraded or resistant.

Your body is trying to adapt and reject nicotine, so it’s going to force the body not to absorb it or let it in. But, at this point, the adrenal or stress gland has become so dependent on nicotine that if you stop cold turkey with these downgraded receptors , the neurotransmitters go all the way down.


How to Stop Smoking Correctly

Right before, during, and after you stop smoking, you need to replace the raw material to build up those neurotransmitters with the following:

You can buy these at the health food store. These are amino acids you can get to help build up your reserves, help your neurotransmitters, and keep you from gaining weight or developing other problems.


Natural Ways to Quit Smoking the Right Way

Close up photo of cigarettes and cigarette but | The Dangers If You Quit Smoking Cold Turkey | sudden stop smoking

Aside from replacing the raw materials for neurotransmitter build-up, you can also make some changes to your lifestyle to fight smoking cravings.

1. Keep in Mind the Benefits of Quitting

Reminding yourself of the benefits of quitting smoking helps a lot in strengthening your willpower. You can write the following benefits down and place it somewhere at home where you can easily and frequently see it:

  • Saves money

  • Spares your loved ones from secondhand smoking

  • Gets healthier

  • Feels better

2. Do Some Research Online for Motivation

The online world has helped people in different ways, and you can explore it for motivation to quit smoking. You can read motivational blogs about people who were successful in their journey for quitting smoking, especially on how they did it. You can also enroll online in programs that help people stop smoking. 

3. Socialize with People Instead of Thinking About Smoking

Socialization is one of the healthiest ways people can overcome many things, including health issues and unhealthy habits. In times where your cravings start to get strong and intense, you can visit a friend's place and spend some time there, or ask a family member to hang out with you. Do things with other people to take your mind off of the nicotine craving.

4. Perform Relaxation Techniques

If smoking is one of your ways to deal with stress, then you might want to practice relaxation techniques to reduce cravings. Resisting smoking itself can already be stressful, which is why you need to relax and have peace of mind. You can try deep breathing exercises, yoga, massage, or listening to soft music.

5. Be Physically Active

Getting more physical is one good way to distract yourself from the temptations of cigarettes. You can simply go out for a walk or jog every day so your focus diverts to your physical activities. If you are working in an office, do some stretching exercises or simple office workouts. You can also walk up and down the stairs during break time. 

6. Chew on Something

One common way to fight tobacco cravings is to keep your mouth busy with something you can chew on. You can try sugarless gum or candy, or go even healthier by eating nuts, seeds, or carrots. Just make sure it's something satisfying and crunchy, but make it healthy so you avoid gaining unnecessary weight.

The dangers of quitting smoking cold turkey are not something to be taken lightly. They may not happen immediately, but these health hazards are already working to destroy your body from the inside. Stop smoking but do it the right way, slowly but surely and not suddenly.  

What other lifestyle changes can you suggest to successfully stop smoking in a healthy way? Share them in the comments section below!

Up Next:

Understand the risks of smoking and see more Health and Wellness advice from Dr. Berg Video Blog.

Disclaimer: I do not smoke, and I do not recommend smoking. I highly recommend you do stop smoking and you do it correctly.

Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.


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