Feeling tightness in my chest after quitting, how long will it last?

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Discussion originally started by erika5

This is crappy and I don't want to feel this way anymore. I'm using the patch and I've been smoke free for 13 days now. I just can't stand this tightness in my chest. I already have anxiety issues and this is making my anxiety worse. How long does it usually last and what about the patch... should I stop using it, could it be making the tightness worse?



The following are replies:

nikkie-noodle wrote:
Hi Erika-Actually, I went through this. It will be 4 weeks for me on Sunday. My chest felt a little tight, but they say after you quit smoking, your chest is actually re-opening (if this makes sense to you) and expanding again so you can breathe noraml again. Your lungs has been in overdrive from the inhaltion of cigarette smoke. It will pass. That is your body telling you it is healing itself. The first 3 weeks you will periodically feel this, but it goes away. I have not felt it since the beginning of my third week. I'm doing just fine now

erika5 wrote:
 Thank you Nikkie. I really appreciate the support. I'm very emotional about all of this. I want to be smoke free so badly but sometimes it's hard when I have to deal with this pain and sickness. I haven't given in, not even once and hopefully it gets better soon. Thanks again.

sherri10 wrote:
Erika, exercise was the only thing that helped me with the anxiety. It is very affective! One thing you might want to know...........I'm using the patch too. Everytime I reduce the amount of nicotine, I have those feelings again, but they are not nearly as intense as they were for the first several days. I think the exercise reduced the time it took for me get over the anxiousness.

Just hang in there! You can get through this

scottie wrote:
 I totally agree with you. I always felt a cigarette helped me breath again and knew it shouldn't make sense, but it was true. Now you have answered why. That makes me so angry that they would do this. So, as your lungs get worse, you smoke more???? I have been quit almost 18 months and still have problems breathing since I have COPD. If only I'd quit sooner. I wonder how many people say that? At least I quit.

Good luck to you.

banter Wrote:
Hi Erika,

I've had this feeling before when using nicotine replacements. I quit cold turkey this time and I did not have chest tightness or pain. I also have anxiety disorder, nicotine is what causes the anxiety though. Nicotine replacement makes it worse because you are getting a steady stream of nicotine and your body is like WHAT? All the time now? Not just in spurts?


With cold turkey I had a hard time the first couple days, then the next few days (maybe a week) there was some adjustment, but getting nicotine out of your system as soon as possible is probably the best way to get rid of this symptom. Plus everyone, and I mean everyone that I've talked to that have long term quits of years or decades, they ALL quit cold turkey.


Nicotine will be out of your system 72 hours after you get off the patch. Any withdrawal symptoms will decine from there, and then you are free. It's a great feeling and I realize now thatt my anxiety disorder is 800% less without nicotine and other chemicals in my system.

Hang in there!


47 days nicotine free

erika5 wrote:
Hi everyone and thank you all so much for the support and advice. I just completed day number 19. I'm so so proud of myself for being a quitter. I know that I am going to quit for good this good time but there are still times where I'm glad that I'm using the patch. I am still having the chest tightness. I found that taking some xanax will make the tightness go away long enough to feel comfortable. I don't feel this tightness during the day, it's just at night when I'm trying to relax. I've also noticed more body pain and my back is killing me. I haven't had a chance to be active yet but I'm going to get out and do something tomorrow. I haven't started coughing up stuff either but I think I'm going to get some muccinex because I know that the black stuff is in there and needs to come out. I'm betting that if I coughed it out, I would feel tons better. I'll report back and tell you guys how I'm doing. By the way, I'm not wearing the patch 24 hours, just from about 12 noon till about 2am and I go to bed around 4. I'm also on step 2 now and trying to wear the patch fewer and fewer hours each day.

banter wrote:
Wow, awesome job Erika, it sounds like you have the right attitude! Keep us updated.


54 days nicotine free

maureen3 wrote:

I have been on the patch for about a month now and it took about three weeks before I felt good. I remember saying

that I felt better before I stopped. Don't give up, it does get better. Good Luck. Maureen

manofsteele  wrote:
Super Congrats on 19 days....

Your body is busy healing itself from all the poison you put in it over time. You are so smart to quit for good. Your chest will feel much better soon.

I would like to invite you to the daily pledge group that you pledge not to smoke every day in front of others. This daily routine really helped me build a strong smoke free foundation and its been over 50 months since I had a puff and I am luving every minute of it.

wishing u continued success !

sherri10 wrote
For the junk in your lungs, try N-Acetyl Cysteine.

peter-s. wrote:
Hello Erika, You are doing great. It is completely normal to feel some tightness in your chest. Your body is gearing up

to throw off the toxins that you were inhaling every day. Nobody said the road to tobacco free living would be easy.

Think of it this way: Each and every time you feel the tightness in your chest, it is yourself and very automatic body

reactions that are expelling that nasty tar and nicotine from your lungs. throat, mouth, tongue, teeth and etcetera.

It is not natural for you to feel tightness in your chest. You should feel moderately better soon. It is definitely allright

to consult with an M.D. There are many sites a click away from right here and right now. Please don't take a single

drag of a single cig till you get back to some one here at BecomeanEx. We are on your side. We're the good guys.

Guess what Erika, Tomorrow is the first full day of summer. Don't put another single one of those ciggs to your lips.

I just re-read your posting of 20 hours ago. I could use some support too. Tomorrow, I'll be six fabulous entire

months cigarette free. I feel great but I know that I can never ever ever have a single drag. If I do so, I'll be addicted

all over again. We are different. We are Ex. We are what we are and better every day. Go Erika Do It. SuperSummer.

erika5 wrote:
Thank you so much everyone and WAY TO GO for quitting. I do feel better in many ways but this chest tightness is the only thing that I gets me. I just get anxiety about it and have to stay on top of the feeling before the feeling gets on top of me. Those with anxiety and panic will certainly understand that statement. I completed 20 days smoke free, still not active (too much school work) and still not coughing. I looked into the N-Acetyl Cysteine and it says that you can find it in food but I don't know what kind of food. Is it better just to by it in the bottle at the pharmacy? What about taking something like muccinex or something like that?

sherri10 Wrote:
Have you ever been diagnosed as having panic attacks??? It just seems that after 20 days that should have passed by now. I know for me that smoking really helped me deal with life and prevented me from feeling a lot of the anxiety I would have to deal with. As far as the N_Acetyl Cysteine, I found it at a health food store in a bottle.

steve12 wrote:
Chantix is one of those FDA approved drugs which can be used to get over smoking habit. It works on body by giving you the same feel good effect like smoking and hence reduces the craving for nicotine. You can have all the information on chantix here http://www.chantixhome.com/http://www.chantixhome.com/ This medicine should only be used in accordance with the instructions of a physician as there are various side effects which may vary from person to person and it includes change of taste, sleeplessness and many more. I have smoked for more than 10 yrs, but now I am spending a smoke free life from last 2 months. Thanks to chantix. Along with having this medicine, you should also have will power and feeling that you want to get over this habit.

Originally posted at: BecomeAnEX.org Online Quit Smoking Support Network: Feeling tightness in my chest after quitting, how long will it last?