Smoking and Addiction

Smoking is more than a "bad habit." It's an addiction to nicotine, a drug found naturally in tobacco. And, today's cigarettes are designed on purpose to be even more addictive with fewer puffs.1 Nicotine is what keeps many people smoking and makes quitting so difficult. Although it may take several attempts to quit, you can do it! Don't give up—it's never too late to quit!

When you quit smoking, you may have withdrawal symptoms as your brain and body get used to not having nicotine. Common symptoms include irritability, trouble paying attention, feeling sad, sleep problems, being hungrier than usual and cravings for tobacco. Symptoms may begin within a few hours after your last cigarette. However, nicotine withdrawal isn't dangerous, and symptoms usually fade within a few days to a few weeks.2

Your health care provider can help you manage withdrawal symptoms with support and medication that improve your ability to quit for good. And, Medicaid and most health insurance plans cover this help.


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014.
  2. Managing Withdrawal. Accessed February 26, 2018.