According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV), nicotine-related withdrawal symptoms include depressed mood, sleep disturbance, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, decreased heart rate, and increased appetite or weight gain. These symptoms are expected to peak within a day (or so) and disappear completely after a couple of weeks. However, in some groups of quitters, researchers have found that these symptoms do not dissipate and, as time goes on, can worsen.
So that brings us to the question of whether the healthiest option for a smoker would be to totally give up nicotine. The “abstinence only” stand that health officials maintain often leaves would-be abstainers in a fix. With possible problems affecting their concentration, memory and mood that could make it difficult to fulfill day-to-day responsibilities; they generally have a tendency to relapse into the smoking habit.
Even for those who do manage long-term nicotine abstinence, their physical health is not 100% better. Recent studies indicate that the average weight gained by a smoker (after quitting) is close to 5 kilograms as opposed to the general consensus of 5 pounds. This is accompanied by an average increase in waist circumference of 3.88cm. It was also observed that the weight gained after quitting smoking was very hard to lose. Smokers who become nicotine abstinent tend to develop hypertension at a higher rate than continuing smokers; those who are at risk for diabetes have been known to develop that disease 26% more often than their still-smoking counterparts.