There are fewer cigarette smokers now than ever before. People are prioritizing their health and giving up the habit in droves. 

Decades ago, there was a time when most American adults used tobacco products. Now, about 12.5 percent of adults smoke, with the number continuing to decline. 

If you want to join the growing number of Americans who have given up cigarettes for good, you need to find a sustainable way to leave the habit behind. People approach smoking cessation in different ways. 

Some quit “cold turkey,” where they stop and never look back. Some people wean themselves off of cigarettes by slowly smoking less and less until they stop. Some people replace cigarette smoking with a healthy habit.

If you’re interested in using CBD products as a part of your journey to quit smoking, here’s what you need to know.

Why Is Smoking So Addictive?

Tobacco contains nicotine, which is an addictive stimulant. Nicotine can increase heart rate, improve focus, suppress appetite, and promote relaxation. It can also cause dizziness, nausea, numbness in the fingers and toes, and persistent cravings for more nicotine. 

In addition to the physical nicotine addiction, it can also be mentally addictive. Many people take cigarettes for granted as a part of their daily habits. They’re used to having a cigarette with their morning coffee or taking a smoke break in the middle of the day. 

These meditative rituals can feel like a helpful way to clear your head, no matter the number of cigarettes you smoke a day. 

When someone stops their cigarette consumption, their moments of respite are suddenly gone. They lack the quiet moment of a cigarette break while they feel the physical and mental nicotine cravings. This is what makes it so hard to quit smoking. 

Why Is Smoking Bad for You?

Smoking damages your lungs, respiratory system, circulatory system, and immune system. More than 16 million Americans are currently living with a smoking-related disease. Smoking is responsible for about 1,300 deaths every day in the United States. 

Smokers who don’t die directly of a smoking-related illness will, on average, die a decade earlier than nonsmokers. Smoking significantly damages the body, and the only way to undo some of that damage is to quit smoking and allow the body time to heal from its damaging effects. 

What Happens When You Quit Smoking?

When you quit smoking, you’re in for a bumpy road. The first month can be tricky to navigate, especially since withdrawal from nicotine can cause unpleasant side effects. You might experience some of the following side effects:

  • Restlessness
  • Weight gain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability or mood shifts
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Persistent cravings for nicotine

Although these side effects are unpleasant, they’re temporary. There is no way around them — prepare to move through them. After a few weeks, the side effects will usually dissipate and you should begin to feel “normal” again. 

After you quit smoking, you might notice that your sense of smell and taste improve. You may also cough up phlegm for a few months. This is part of your lungs naturally clearing themselves so they can return to a healthy state.

After about a year, your lungs should have made significant progress in healing. They’ll usually be in much better shape than they would be if you had continued to smoke. Between two and five years after you stop, your risk factors for heart disease will decrease.

It usually takes about 20 years for your body to undo all the damage caused by smoking. At that point, your risk factors for developing conditions like lung cancer should become similar to those of someone who never smoked, as should your stroke and heart attack risk factors.

What Is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid. It naturally occurs in cannabis plants, including hemp plants. CBD is similar to the cannabinoids produced within the human body (called endocannabinoids, endo meaning inside of the body). The body makes cannabinoids that interact with a vast network of receptors called the endocannabinoid system.


The endocannabinoid system provides support to a significant number of processes throughout the human body. There are receptors everywhere, from your brain to your immune system. CBD can work with those receptors, encouraging them to perform their natural functions.

CBD fits into distinct categories: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. Full-spectrum contains all the beneficial plant parts, terpenes, and THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol). Broad-spectrum has beneficial plant parts but is devoid of detectable THC. CBD isolate is pure CBD — THC-free.

CBD products range from CBD oils and tinctures to CBD vapes and even include topicals, edibles, and CBD inhalers.

CBD isn’t a drug or an addictive chemical. There are no known negative health effects of CBD use, but there are benefits of CBD. 

Is Vaping CBD Better Than Smoking?

Many people turned to vaping as a smoking cessation aid. Most doctors agree that vaping is probably not the best idea. 

Although it may be less damaging to your body than smoking, it’s still damaging to your body. The ultimate goal should be to stop inhaling things altogether, whether a vape or a cigarette. 

Can CBD Help You Quit Smoking?

CBD won’t give you the urge to quit smoking. It’s not a nicotine replacement, and it’s not a new habit that will replace the routine of smoking cigarettes. That’s not why people use high-quality CBD as a wellness tool while giving up a tobacco addiction.

CBD’s ability to support the body’s stress management system might improve how you feel when you give up smoking and other addictive behaviors. Irritability and feelings of stress are common things that people feel when they choose to leave cigarettes behind. CBD can support your body in managing those feelings of nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Because CBD is not addictive, you’re not swapping one addictive habit for another. You won’t develop a dependency on CBD or experience strong cravings for it throughout the day. You can use it in the morning or at night with your wellness supplements or as a part of your “calm down” ritual that helps you get to bed.

How To Quit Smoking

It’s ultimately the right decision to quit smoking, even if the first few weeks of tobacco withdrawal are difficult. It can take decades for your body to become similar to the body of a non-smoker, and the longer you wait, the further you’re delaying the process. Here are some strategies to help you quit smoking.

Be Ready To Quit

People often express a desire to make a positive change, like eating a healthier diet or committing to regular exercise. They backslide and tell themselves they’ll start next week. 

It’s often not enough to say you want to quit. You need to be fully committed to the idea of quitting. 

You’ll need to consciously choose not to smoke when you first decide to quit. You will have urges and need to be prepared to battle those urges. Think about what you’re working towards, and realize that every cigarette is a significant step in the wrong direction. 

This may mean changing your habits. Avoiding bars, clubs, and social groups of smokers will make it easier to stay away from temptation. 

You might even want to take things further by avoiding movies and shows where characters smoke. Forget about binge-watching Mad Men if seeing cigarettes puts you in a bad headspace.

Don’t Have “Just One”

One cigarette is enough to set all of your progress back. If you feel like having “just one cigarette” will help to take the edge off, you’re wrong. When you introduce nicotine into your body, you’re starting the process all over again. You can undo the progress you made up to that point.

Commit to Healthy Habits

One of the biggest challenges many people face when they stop smoking is disrupting their routine. Smoking a cigarette is a ritual. It’s a very unhealthy way to relax, but it serves a similar purpose to meditating. 

You go outside and get a quiet ten minutes to yourself. You probably count on those breaks throughout the day.

Don’t give up your little bits of respite. As long as you aren’t smoking, those breaks are excellent for the pacing of your day. Continue taking ten-minute breaks for yourself, but find something else to do with those breaks. 

Sit outside and read a good book. Start a small container garden and tend to your plants. Take your dog for a walk. Watch your local birds. Sketch nature scenes in a small notebook. 

Do Something Else With Your Mouth

Many smokers find that doing something else with their mouth distracts from the craving to smoke. Many smokers use gum or hard candy to keep their mouths busy. You might enjoy chewing on a crunchy, healthy snack like carrots or almonds.

It might help to drink from a straw. Make some fruit-infused water or a smoothie and use a straw. The straw mimics the sensation of inhaling a cigarette. Rather than inhaling nicotine, you’re meeting your hydration or nutrition requirements for the day. 

Talk to Your Doctor About Quitting Smoking

When people have difficulty giving up tobacco, they often visit their doctors. Doctors can prescribe smoking cessation aids or suggest nicotine replacement therapy that might make quitting easier. 

Nicotine replacement and smoking cessation aids don’t completely solve the problem, but they can be valuable tools for people with an especially difficult time. 

CBD Could Be Worth a Try as You’re Quitting

Use quality products if you think CBD’s health benefits help you fight the urge to smoke. You’re replacing a harmful habit with a wellness-focused habit. That’s always an excellent thing to do. 

It won’t remove the urge to smoke or help your body heal from the long-term effects of smoking, but it might improve your feelings while you’re under stress. 

Try chewing on a CBD gummy to calm your nerves and give yourself a little bit of relief. Remember that these feelings will pass, and setbacks or slip-ups will only move the goalpost further away. Your health is worth it, and you can do this.

Sources:

Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults in the United States | CDC

Fast Facts | Fact Sheets | Smoking & Tobacco Use | CDC

Quitting smoking: 10 ways to resist tobacco cravings | Mayo Clinic

August 24, 2022