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Most smokers are physically addicted to the nicotine in tobacco smoke. The strength of this addiction, and the difficulty of breaking the addiction, varies depending on how much you’re smoking. 

When you go without cigarettes, it's common to feel nicotine withdrawal:

  • strong cravings
  • irritability
  • trouble concentrating
  • restlessness
  • anxiety
  • low mood
  • trouble sleeping

Am I addicted to Nicotine?

If you do have a nicotine addiction, using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or quitting medication (Champix or Zyban) is recommended. They are proven to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms and reduce nicotine-related cravings. Research shows that you have the best chance of quitting when you combine nicotine replacement therapy or a quitting medication with a support service like Quitline.

What does it mean if I have a low addiction to nicotine?

If your nicotine addiction is low, your urge to smoke may be more related to habits and routines, stress and smoking or social situations and alcohol.

Nicotine and stress

Many smokers feel that smoking helps to calm them down and reduce stress. This is because your body is used to nicotine and relies on it to feel normal. To find out more see stress and smoking.

Smoking and caffeine

When you stop smoking, you feel the effects of caffeine more because chemicals in cigarettes make your body get rid of caffeine faster. If you quit without reducing your caffeine intake, you will have higher levels of caffeine in your body which can make you feel restless, irritable and sleepless.

When you quit smoking, try to reduce your intake of caffeine, e.g. drinks like coffee, tea, cola, chocolate.