Seven Quit Smoking Side Effects: The Essential Guide for New Vapers and Quitters

Although this is a blog about vaping, I think this is an important post for both smokers quitting and for new vapers (electronic cigarette users).

That’s because while some vapers switch to e-cigarettes effortlessly, others struggle, and some get withdrawals symptoms (especially those using low zero nicotine e-liquid).

This year, for example, I’ve heard two people complaining of mouth ulcers from vaping. While there may well be side effects from quitting vaping – we do that know a very small minority of people are allergic to propylene glycol, and that it can cause sore or dry throats – some reported side effects are also identical to those caused by quitting smoking.

So here’s an overview of the negative effects of quitting smoking to expect when you stop using tobacco cigarettes!

1. Mouth Ulcers after Quitting Smoking

A woman holds her hand to her mouth.

According to guidance from the NHS, quitting smoking leads to a change of chemicals in your body, which can in turn cause more mouth ulcers than normal. There are other causes, so do check out the NHS page on mouth ulcers if it is a worry.

2. Coughing, Chest Pains and Respiratory Problems

A man holds his hand to his chest.

Quitting smoking can also lead to (temporary) respiratory problems: sharp chest pains, coughing and cold/flu like symptoms e.t.c.  But if you’re worried, get it checked out!

3. Fainting


I remember talking to an athlete in Greece who was a heavy smoker. She decided to quit smoking – and fainted in the street. (Being in Greece, her doctor recommended that she keep smoking, which I don’t think you would get in the UK.)

There’s precious little information about fainting while on the net, so this may be a rare incidence, but studies have reported dizziness while trying to quit.

4. Mood

Angry man flipping off the middle finger bird gesture
Who says I am having mood swings!

Nicotine makes the brain release dopamine, helping us to feel good. Smoking can also help to calm us or to stimulate us (see Nicotine and Electronic Cigarettes: 10 Facts All Users Should Know.) So it’s not surprising that if you are getting no or less nicotine you can experience mood swings, depression and anxiety.

One study also found that smoking cessation can lead to depression in women, although this comes with the caveat that it was a very small study.

5. Weight Gain

A woman holds her finger to her mouth as she enjoys a secret snack.

Smoking helps control weight. One study found that that when people quit smoking, men gained on average 2.8kg in weight while women gained 3.8 kg.

Some of this may be attributable to nicotine, or it might just be the case that people use eating to replace the habit of smoking.

In one poll we ran on Facebook, 49% of reported feeling less hungry when they vaped, with 14% reporting  no effect and 37% unsure.

Chart showing hunger when vaping.

When we first wrote this article, that was all we had to go on, but since then one study has found that smokers who switched to vaping experienced no weight gain at all.

6. Sleepiness OR Problems Getting to Sleep

Sleepy woman with one eye shut.

Another quit smoking side effect I recently ran across (have you experienced this?) is problems with sleep. Quitting smoking can cause either sleepiness or insomnia, and has been reported by vapers who have only recently quit smoking. This is backed up by the Prosise study we mentioned early, which found people quitting wake up more in the night and experience more daytime sleepiness.

Fatigue generally only lasts for a couple of weeks or so, so if it persists after this time it might be worth checking with your doctor.

7. Headaches

Woman holds hand to her head while crying in a field with cloudy sky.

Both smokers in the process of quitting and vapers switching to ecigs have reported getting headaches. I’ve seen various reasons given for this, including oxygen levels in the blood returning to normal and because of the body’s cravings for more nicotine.

It could also be linked to other changes brought on by quitting smoking, such as a lack of sleep or increased coffee drinking.

Other Symptons

Yes, there’s more! Quitters have also reported:

  • Nausea
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Loneliness
  • Frustration
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Stomach Aches

Have you experienced a side effect not listed here? Let us know in the comments.

What to do if you experience side effects?

If you’re really worried about any side effects from quitting smoking/taking up vaping – don’t read a blog post – most of us bloggers are not medical experts, so get advice from a real doctor 😉

If you are ready to brave the side effects, check out our range of e-cigarette kits!

Find this post useful? Please share using the buttons below. (If you’re logged in to google, all you need to do is click on the google plus button.) 

Also see our other beginner’s guides:

The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Electronic Cigarettes
The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Clearomisers
How to Use Electronic Cigarettes: A Video Tutorial

Article Sources

Bock et al (1996): Depression following smoking cessation in womenScience Direct, Journal of Substance Abuse, Volume 8, Issue 1, Pages 137-144 DOI: 10.1016/S0899-3289(96)90151-0

Caponetto et al (2013): EffiCiency and Safety of an eLectronic cigAreTte (ECLAT) as Tobacco Cigarettes Substitute: A Prospective 12-Month Randomized Control Design Study, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066317

Prosise et al (1994): Effects of Abstinence From Smoking on Sleep and Daytime Sleepiness  Science Direct, Volume 105, Issue 4, April 1994, Pages 1136-1141 DOI: 10.1378/chest.105.4.1136

Ward M et al (2001) Self-reported abstinence effects in the first month after smoking cessation Science Direct, Addiction Volume 26, Issue 3, Pages 311-327, DOI: 10.1016/S0306-4603(00)00107-6

Williamson et al (1991) Smoking Cessation and Severity of Weight Gain in a National Cohort N Engl J Med; 324:739-745, DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199103143241106

47 thoughts on “Seven Quit Smoking Side Effects: The Essential Guide for New Vapers and Quitters”

  1. Pingback: Vaping Didn't Do It!

  2. Pingback: e-Cigarette News Roundup 3-21-12 - Twas the night before WVD

  3. Pingback: The Ultimate Beginners Guide to Clearomisers: Essential Knowledge for All New Vapers

  4. Pingback: ECigarette Academy: Essential Need to Know for New Vapers

  5. Insomnia for me. Been on the vape around six weeks now and I’m still not sleeping properly. Looks like ill be paying my GP a visit soon!

    1. hi ive packed up cigarettes for 5 weeks and im not sleeping at all can you give me any advice many thanks

  6. I bought an e-cig for myself as an Xmas present, as smoking has given me allergic rhinitis and a permanent cough. Originally I planned to use it in combination with smoking to reduce how much I smoked but I didn’t have the willpower to use both.
    I finally decided I needed to stop smoking altogether and only vape, and 4 days in it’s going great. It’s never been this easy when I’ve quit smoking a couple of times before, and I’d recommend this method to anyone thinking of quitting.

  7. Gave up smoking with remarkableease due to gaping! Honestly never missed my cigs after 30 years of smoking! Give it a try

  8. I gave up 6 weeks ago with e vape after 30yrs of smoking had some mouth issues blood returning to my mouth trying to heal and my tongue is really sensitive to spicy foods im just plodding on and perserviring my husband still smokes and im not at all botherd by it good luck with quitting every one.

  9. Smoking 40 ciggs daily bought vaping e cigg never looked back . smoked for 50 years. cud not have done it without it. Chest feeling fantastic now. ALL my family amazed side effects coming off the ciggs and vaping mouth sores headaches. 9 weeks now never will I smoke again I am adamant.

  10. well smoked cigs for 31 yrs, 20 a day roughly, went to vaping started on 26mg now down to 3mg for the past 6mths. went to pack in cold turkey completely 2 days in felt very unwell, nausea couldn,t sleep for feeling sick resulting to going back to vaping gutted. years ago when packing in cigs cold turkey never felt like that so makes me think what is in the liquid that can make you feel so unwell scary.

  11. I smoked for 33 years. Tried quitting ‘cold turkey’ style a year ago but went back on the tobacco after a month or two. Finally decided to give vaping a chance a few weeks ago and continued smoking as well, until I got down to one a day and could no longer stand the taste and stink of tobacco.

    I’ve had no tobacco at all for 2 weeks, experienced some insomnia problems, tiredness, muscle ache, occasional very mild headaches and lack of concentration. The minor headaches have stopped and the other side effects are lessening.

    On the upside, I’ve found my mood has actually improved by vaping and I don’t have desperate cravings for nicotine like I did with roll-ups. I enjoy vaping more than smoking, but it did take a few days to get used to the direct-to-lung inhale method of my atomiser, which initially made me cough.

    The most irritating side effect has been idiot neighbours; my sub-ohm Baby Beast atomiser produces large clouds and is a little noisy. I even heard one of them saying “He’s smoking crack”. There’s nothing quite like the stupidity of the ignorant.

  12. It’s been 2 months since my last puff of a cigarette after 13 years of smoking, started vaping at 18mg , down to 3mg now and haven’t felt this good in a long time, only side effect I’ve had is some mouth sores, got a pretty canker sore under my tongue right now. But doesn’t bother me considering my lungs feel amazing. Anyone who says vaping is as bad as cigarettes must work for a tobacco company! Haha

  13. I have began vaping on dec 19th. I have been vaping since, have smoked 2 ciggs one fully and one was thrown out after 2 puffs. I an having issues sleeping, headaches and my mouth waters for a cigg it feels like. I an vaping at 6mg nicotine and 40 watts from a Subox mini-c mod. Any insight on what’s going on? Is my body withdrawing from actual tobacco or am i not getting enough nic? I smoked a pack to pack 1/2 a day.

  14. Hi I started vaping about 10 weeks ago after smoking for 31 years. I am really chuffed as I really did not believe I could despite telling everyone that I could. However, every morning now I spit blood in my saliva. Is this normal? It did not happen when I smoked but does now, is my body healing or not? Please advise

    1. Cigarette manufacturers put stuff in the filters to balance the PH not only in your mouth, but your lungs. If they didn’t put all the buffering agents and pain killers in there – you couldn’t stay addicted to cigarettes, it would be like inhaling camp fire smoke! Your body is getting used to being without hundreds of chemicals you were addicted to – not just one. It took your body 31 years to get as addicted to the cigarettes as you were the day you quit. It’s painful to quit, very painful to quit. The cigarette manufacturers need you to keep buying the product so they chemically design cigarettes to make it very painful for you to quit. They had a hundred years to make you “need” what is in the damn things…. you can do this, HANG IN THERE! It’s work but you will feel better.

  15. Really had to jot a comment down as I seem to be the one who has smoked the longest 60years!!!! I was really poorly in Oct and couldn’t breathe, couldn’t even walk 10 yards without being out of breath, so had to do something first week to ill to do anything then when I was feeling better had to get to the shops for a e ciggie been on it ever since, breathing improved 100% but having problems with sore mouth, can’t see me going back to cigarettes,even though I have a lot of duty free ciggies in my cupboard.!!!!

  16. Hi I smoked 35+ cigs a day for roughly 15 years but since I’ve started on my e cig I don’t really want a regular cig anymore. I’ve only been on it a week though so time will tell.

  17. Hi… been off cigs for about 6 weeks now… using Twisp with 18mg liquid.
    Mood swings started about a week ago and I am not coping. One of my side effects is wind.. passing air and all involuntary… is this normal? You know that us women do not fart in public 🙂 I am devastated with this and wonder if it will settle down.

  18. I have been a smoker for 11 years and I smoked almost two packs a day in the last 2 years. Then I stopped and switched to vaping about 5 months ago.

    Over all health seems to have improved. Sinus headaches are gone and breathing and cloaked nose issue gone. But my main problem is the Mouth sores.

    First few months my gums would bleed and at first I thought I was spitting blood but slowly my gums started bleeding only when I brushed and now that stopped as well. But the Mouth sores keep coming back every few weeks and stay there for 2 weeks or more. My brother who quit smoking cold turkey had the same problem. Wish I didn’t get the Mouth sores but I am going to make my own juice 100% VG as I read PG can cause the sores in some people.

    Good luck to you all and don’t let little things like this scare you or stop you from doing good to your body.


  19. I’ve been vaping now since the beginning of April – started at 12 mg for a couple of weeks, then went down to 6mg. I’m currently weaning myself down to 5mg. I was a Marlboro Silver (Ultra Light) smoker – at least a pack a day – for 20+ years. I’ve found that my energy is zapped – I don’t have a lot of motivation to exercise and get out. I find that I’m tired during the day but am restless or cannot get to sleep at night. I do have some headaches and muscle aches. Overall, I feel like I’m doing the right thing. The goal is to be nicotine free.

  20. I started vaping 2 weeks back. Having smoked for 25 long years. Started with 18 mg cigar flavour. Woke up last night with a very sharp pain in my chest. The pain was so severe that I could easily outline the chest on my back. The night before I had acidity I had to take a antacid. Stomach seem bloated slightly gastric too. I started smoking today. I really want to get back to vaping. I am missing the clouds. I was so happy that I finally kicked the cigarettes. These symptoms scare me. Maybe order for 3 mg strength and try.

  21. I smoked around 40 a day, more if I was drinking, for 45 years, ended up quitting 3 weeks ago due to breathing problems. I’ve had an e cig for 36 months and only started using it then, after a week I could not breathe ended up in hospital thought I was having a stroke, checked out ok, symptoms now include tiredness insomnia lack of concentration but not had a cig since, if I can do it, you can

  22. I stopped smoking yesterday after 1 yr …i felt many side effects…among them the cough made me very scary coz as soon as i coughed my stonach ached too severely….
    Bt now i m fine….

  23. Packed in 12 wks ago after 50 yrs smokin 20 to 30 a day used the nhs inhaler which was brill and dont use anything now still gettin mouth sores on toungue n breathing problems though which is a grind have gained a stone in weight but needed it look healthier

  24. Nancy D. Lesicka

    My husband has been pushing me to vape instead of smoke. I’d cut back my smoking by never smoking in our house, or any enclosed space or vehicle. With that I had cut back to between 3 to 6 cigarettes a day (except when really frustrated with some lame ass company or government agency who could not/would not solve a problem “they” (not me) caused and then I smoked my brains out until a resolution was reached. Also if my husband and I were in a quarrel, that would set me off.

    Well I finally decided to give vaping another try and e-cigs that deliver a fair amount of vaper and 6ml nicotine seems to do the trick. Haven’t had a cigarette for about a month now and have walked through all my triggers with an e-cig instead of a cigarette. That included my dog getting attacked by a couple of smallish pit bulls who charged out of their yard and started mauling my guy who wasn’t doing anything more than walking down the street on a leash with me. That alone would have sent me on a binge smoking spree in the past. This way I got to vape indoors while waiting in the vet emergency room. It all worked out, but I thought I’d share because that was a big emotional thing for me.

    I’ve also found that I miss the routines I associated with smoking. Going out on the patio for that last cigarette before going to bed, etc., etc. Some of the things I’m finding as a very pleasant surprise is while driving I don’t have to open the windows to keep the smoke out of my face and eyes; worry about fumbling with a cigarette and burning something; wondering where my ashtray is. When I’m done using my e-cig, all I have to do is slip it i my pocket or purse.

    So just wanted to share. Hope I’ve been of some help.

  25. I smoked for 1 year,i quitted it for 1 month .
    I experienced severe cough with stomach pain,while coughing.
    Chest pains.
    Cold like symptoms.

  26. Zo…did the vaping only by help ur mouth sores? I quit smoking about 2.5 months ago. Pack or more a day for at least 40 yrs. Vaping is the only thing that helped me quit. Sadly my gums are always swollen..bleeding and inflamed. I think it’s either the pg by or even 6mg nicotine but haven’t experimented yet. Gonna ask my Dr if he can do an allergy test. I’m not finding much on the web regarding this. I’ve thought about buying a 100% vg and 100% pg to compare..but juice isn’t cheap! I have diff mixes of 50 50 and 65 35 or 70 can’t figure it out. Any advice would help as no way I’m going back to smoking! But can’t see doing it without vaping

  27. I stopped smoking 3 months ago after 50 yrs and went onto the E.Cig and I feel amazing,I smoked about 40 a day and to be honest never thought I could do it well I am so chuffed with myself still off them and don’t miss them just one thing that annoys me my cough and what I cough up disgusting.

  28. Does it cause muscle soreness? I started 2 weeks ago my leg and arm muscles are really sore? Like I’ve been working out!

    1. That sounds like “quitters flue” to me. I suspect you may be experiencing nicotine withdrawal symptoms – not to mention withdrawal from all the chemicals that are added by tobacco companies. I suspect there are additives included specifically for the purpose of making cigarettes more addictive. I seem to remember reading about that. At any rate, I would give it some time and see if it gets better. If it does, it was probably withdrawal. Please resist the urge to go back to tobacco. It’s deadly.

  29. I stopped smoking a month ago after 35 years. I experience dull head aches and tiredness. Is this normal after quitting cold turkey

    1. Read about “quitter’s flue.” Sounds like you might be experiencing that due to the withdrawal from cigarettes and all the garbage added to the tobacco.

  30. i quit smoking 3 months ago after 30 years on the cigs , i had always thought about giving up but only quit after i actually really wanted to stop , my put my quitting down to grit and self belief and many packets of polo mints sugar free 🙂 , best thing i ever did should have done it years ago , you got to want to quit to be able to quit , first 2 weeks are the worst but after a month i knew i had cracked it , good luck in giving up

  31. After forty years of smoking a pack a day, and many failed attempts to quit (tried everything out there – hypnosis, pharmaceuticals, nicotine patches, even acupuncture) I decided to try vaping. I was very addicted to cigarettes, and very sick because of them. I literally felt myself slowly dying, yet the thought of being without cigarettes terrified me. I wouldn’t go anywhere if I couldn’t smoke, and even avoided long trips because I didn’t smoke in the car. Cigarettes literally controlled every aspect of my life. Still, from the moment I began vaping, I never once missed cigarettes – no, really, not even once – and didn’t even suffer any withdrawal symptoms. I didn’t even gain weight or become irritable. I started out with 24 mg of nicotine, then dropped down every two bottles of juice I bought, and finally stuck with the lowest dose available, which I found more pleasant tasting. My voice sounded better, I didn’t stink, and I felt great. After six months of vaping I quit that too, with complete ease and without picking up smoking – not for any effects on my health, because I experienced none. I quit vaping because, at that time, equipment tended to break easily and it was becoming expensive to replace it. The equipment available now is stellar, so I am vaping again (.6 mg nicotine juice) – not because I need it, but simply because I enjoy it. I can’t stress enough how effective vaping is for those who wish to give up tobacco and the massive amounts of poisonous chemicals it contains. Some people have told me it took them 3 days to a couple of weeks to feel completely relaxed, but they weren’t miserable at all, and they were completely comfortable after that. So, if you find it not quite as satisfying the first couple of days, stick with it. You will very soon loathe the thought of a cigarette.

  32. Getting lower leg cramps 3 weeks into vaping, not one drinking plenty of water, so might be that.
    I have neuropathy from chemo, and it’s cold today, could be that too.
    Would just like to say, big tobacco must be concerned, I am one of many prisoners to cigarettes, that has been freed by vaping

  33. janice
    I have quit smoking for 27 days and have experience alot of ache and pains. Never experience this until I quit smoking

  34. Smoked for 11 years, maybe about 15 cigarettes a day. Yellow fingers, wrinkles at age 24, constant nausea and anxiety, loss of appetite and always worried what risk I was putting my body through with every cigarette I smoked. I decided to go cold turkey 5 days ago and so far it’s been going okay! First 2 days I was really dizzy and kind of out of it, struggled to breathe a little too. The 3rd and 4th day were much better, only a slight headache and tongue ulcers ?! (Which I never used to get). I hope I stick to it, time will tell, but I am so dedicated to be healthy. Smoking gave me no benefit, it was only a part of my routine and comfort!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top