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What Does A Nicotine Craving Feel Like & How Long Should You Wait To Smoke After Waking Up?

Nicotine craving occurs because of the pleasure effects provided by nicotine. It causes a surge in energy and an increase in concentration and memory. People should wait to smoke for at least one hour after waking up to reduce the risk of lungs, neck and head cancer.

What Does A Nicotine Craving Feel Like?

Craving is the condition in which the body demands a particular substance for which the body gets adapted and tolerant. Nicotine dependence is characterized by nicotine craving. The patient has a strong urge to infuse nicotine into the system. Initially, the craving can be satisfied by nicotine, however, in the later stage, nicotine itself becomes the reason for craving. Craving generally indicates that there is a reduced level of nicotine-induced dopamine. Nicotine, via reward system present in the brain, initiates the synthesis of nicotinic induced dopamine. Managing craving of nicotine is one of the most important parts in the treatment regimen to overcome nicotine dependence. Nicotine cravings exist for months after the other symptoms related to nicotinic withdrawal symptoms disappear. Along with craving, other symptoms experience includes trouble sleeping and irritability. Some people define withdrawal symptoms as flu-like feeling.1 Craving for nicotine lasts for approximately 5-10 minutes. If the person makes a routine to overcome that particular period of craving, quitting smoking may be a much easier task.

Pleasure Effects Of Nicotine

Pleasure Effects Of Nicotine

Generally, people think they smokers smoke because of the craving to nicotine or addicted to nicotine. Theoretically, this fact holds its ground. But the main reason for continuous smoking is the impact of withdrawal symptom, which the body is not able to tolerate. This is due to the pleasure effect provided due to smoking, more particularly due to nicotine. As soon as nicotine enters the system, it activates the adrenal gland which increases the release of adrenaline. This adrenaline affects heart rate and blood pressure. It also reduces the concentration of insulin release from pancreas leading to slightly increase in sugar level. Further, there is an excess release of sugar in the blood due to adrenaine.2 Following are some of the effects of nicotine that may help in enhancing the pleasure:

Dopamine Release: Nicotine increases the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is responsible for emotions and motivations. Dopamine release is primarily responsible for the pleasurable effect.

Effect On The Brain: Nicotine increases the level of norepinephrine and acetylcholine because of which, the concentration and memory get enhanced and feeling of wakefulness and arousal increases. Nicotine reduces anxiety by increasing the level of beta-endorphins.

Effect On Heart: Effect of nicotine on the human heart is such that it creates a surge in energy. The heart rate, heart stroke volume, and heart muscle oxygen consumption rate are increased.

Psychodynamic Effects: Psychodynamic effect of nicotine include euphoria, sense of relaxation and increased alertness.

How Long Should You Wait To Smoke After Waking Up?

How Long Should You Wait To Smoke After Waking Up?

Most people believe that smoking increases the intestinal movement thus may help them effectively passing their bowel. Smoking not only affects you after wake up but it has the potential to disrupt your sleep cycle. It has been found that people who smoked within 30 to 60 minutes after waking up are at higher risk of developing lung cancer as compared to those who have waited for more than one hour.3 Smoking may also cause sleep apnea. People should not smoke immediately after waking up.

Studies indicate that people who smoke within 30 minutes of waking up have almost 1.59 greater chance of having head and neck cancer as compared to those who wait for more than 30 minutes. The risk reduces to 1.42 if the individual smokes within 30 to 60 minutes after waking up.4


People feel like flu during the withdrawal period of nicotine. It increases adrenaline and dopamine in the body that provides a pleasurable effect. Studies indicate that people who smoke within 30 minutes of waking up are at higher risk of developing cancer.


Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 15, 2019

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