Should I avoid caffeine if I'm trying to quit smoking?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If you're a person who regularly drinks caffeinated beverages, then you might notice that you're a little more jittery than usual when you quit smoking. It's not that you are necessarily more nervous, but that your body is holding onto more of the stimulant. Researchers discovered that when you stop smoking, blood levels of caffeine double. Some people think that the withdrawal from smoking causes these symptoms.

If you find these symptoms overwhelming, and you stop drinking caffeinated drinks at the same time you stop smoking, you may find yourself more tired than usual, especially in your first days as a nonsmoker. To avoid this, you may want to cut your consumption of caffeine before you quit. See how you feel and adjust your intake accordingly. Some coffee drinkers cut their regular coffee with a little decaf.
Avoiding caffeine while quitting smoking may be necessary. If you associate drinking a cup of coffee with lighting up a cigarette, for example, coffee is one of the triggers that will create the urge to smoke. If this is the case, avoid coffee in the first few months after you've quit smoking.

Also, the caffeine in coffee, soda and energy drinks could make you more jittery while you go through the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, which include being jittery and irritable. Unfortunately, giving up caffeine and cigarettes together may increase your risk for headaches and other symptoms. Talk to your doctor about methods to help you deal with both the psychological and physical symptoms of giving up caffeine and cigarettes simultaneously.
Avoiding caffeine when you're quitting smoking isn't important, but avoiding the triggers for smoking is important.  In other words, if you normally smoke a cigarette when you have your morning coffee, you should avoid coffee and perhaps drink tea instead.  Having your tea in a different room, using a different cup, might also help avoid your "smoking trigger".

The disadvantage to avoiding caffeine when you're trying to quit smoking is that your body and brain are now fighting withdrawal from two substances. You might find that you become VERY grouchy and nobody wants to be around you!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.