Archive for Question of the Week

QotW: Tiredness & Fatigue After Stopping Smoking

This week’s Question of the Week comes from Shell, who asked:

Just wondering is it normal to be so tired once I quit smoking?

Tiredness and fatigue is a common withdrawal symptom in the early stages of smoking cessation and can have several causes.

Firstly, overcoming regular cravings for cigarettes can be quite energy-depleting. The result of the constant struggle to avoid temptation can leave you feeling depleted physically, mentally emotionally.

The good news is that the longer you abstain from tobacco, the less intense and less frequent these cravings become and consequently, the less energy is needed to overcome them.

Secondly, the chemicals in cigarette smoke increase the smoker’s metabolism to an abnormally high level. When you stop smoking, your body has to adjust its metabolic rate back to normal. It usually takes one or two weeks to normalize, which can leave you feeling tired during the interim.

Thirdly, smokers tend to have be lighter sleepers than non-smokers. Stopping smoking can screw up the body’s natural sleeping pattern, resulting in insomnia and waking in the night. But as your body adjusts its sleeping patterns ex-smokers quickly begin to benefit from the deeper, more restorative sleep that non-smokers benefit from all the time.

Finally, I should take a moment to talk about medication.

If you are using Zyban to help you to stop smoking, this can increase the chances of temporary insomnia. Similarly, common side effects of Champix are difficulty sleeping and abnormal dreams. In addition many ex-smokers that have used the 24-hour nicotine patch have reported wakefulness and/or vivid dreams. Of course, you should report any side effects from any medications you are using to your doctor.

The important thing to remember is that fatigue and tiredness, along with all  withdrawal symptoms are usually short-lived. Most won’t last longer than one month and, chances are, that you will begin to feel an increase in your energy levels within just a couple of weeks!

In the meantime, you can take practical steps to reduce the tiredness you are experiencing by:

  • Ensuring you get regular exercise (even if it’s just walking to the shop)
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • Not staying up too late
  • Taking regular short naps (if required)
  • Avoiding coffee and other caffeine products

As time goes by and your body adjusts to your new life as a non-smoker,  you WILL feel less tired and benefit from much higher levels of energy than you had as a smoker.

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QotW: Smoking E-Cigarettes on Aeroplanes

This week’s Question of the Week comes from Janine, who asked:

Why won’t airlines let people use ecigarettes?  They don’t have any smoke or nicotine that would affect other passengers, and the electronics certainly can’t affect the plane.  Is this really something that needs to be banned on long flights?

I must admit that before I received Janine’s email, I was blatantly unaware that many airlines outside of the UK had prohibited the use of e-cigarettes by their passengers.

Over here in the UK, I know of quite a few people that have used their e-cigarettes on aircraft without a problem. So I made a few calls and did a little research and discovered that airlines in many countries including the US and Canada have outlawed e-cigarettes during their flights.

The primary reason for this is that, due to a lack of clinical trials with e-cigarettes, there is no evidence as to the impact (or lack of impact) they have on the user and those around them.

Although it may seem very unlikely that water vapour containing small traces of nicotine would have a detrimental effect on those nearby, insufficient scientific evidence to back this up has resulted in airlines erring on the side of caution.

If it were discovered that e-cigarettes could damage the health of passive smokers, it would open the airlines up to possible litigation. So they’re playing it safe reduce the risk of future legal problems.

It should be known that it has been left up to the airlines to decide if they will allow e-cigarettes on their flights and to regulate them. The US government regards it as a legal ‘grey area’ and so haven’t banned their use nor allowed them.

And not all airlines have published policies that prohibit the use of e-cigarettes by their passengers so it may be worth checking what your airline’s official stance on the matter is.

Informing cabin crew before take-off that you will want to use your e-cigarette at some point during the flight may also be a useful practice, as well as letting your nearby fellow passengers know of your intentions.

Alternatively, you could simply smoke your ecig in the toilets and no-one will be any the wiser ;)

Submit your question by emailing me at or using the Chat or Live Support systems in the Members Area (membership is 100% free and we have an 88% success rate.


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QotW: Coughing Up Brown Phlegm After Quitting Smoking

This week’s Question of the Week comes from Korrin, one of our members.

She asked:

“ I am a little concerned about the nasty brown stuff I am coughing up.  Did anyone else do this or should I call my doctor?  Thanks in advance for any help with this.”

This is a common withdrawal symptom after stopping smoking and is a sign that your lungs are repairing themselves from the damage caused by smoking.

Inside the lungs, there are tiny hair-like called protrusions called cilia. Their job is to filter out any impurities in the air that you inhale and expel them from your body.

The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke cause the cilia to become damaged and dormant, so they are unable to do their job efficiently, which results in a build-up of impurities inside the lungs.

When you stop smoking, the cilia are able to repair themselves and start functioning correctly again. Because of all the gunk that has built up over the years of inhaling smoke, they have to work overtime to clean the lungs by removing impurities (mixed with phlegm) out through the windpipe and the mouth.

This can result in a cough and a nasty brown sticky substance in your mouth and nasal cavity.

This process can last anywhere from a week to a couple of months, depending on how long you smoked for but, rest assured, it will get better over time, is completely natural and a signal that your lungs are becoming much healthier.

Some smoker’s mistakenly believe that smoking helps them to prevent coughing and sore throats because when they tried to stop smoking they experienced these withdrawal symptoms.

I hope that this explanation dispels this myth.

Of course, if you are experiencing this or other health-related problems and have any concerns, you should book an appointment to see your doctor.


SEE ALSO: Why Do I Get Tired Easily After Stopping Smoking?

Submit your question by emailing me at or using the Chat or Live Support systems in the Members Area (membership is 100% free and we have an 88% success rate.

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