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Does the duration of smoking affect withdrawal?

Learn how long-term smoking affects withdrawal and how you can manage to become successfully smoke-free.


Science Team

Reviewed by


Science Team

Smoking is a common addiction that leads many people to smoke cigarettes every day for years or even decades. But how does the duration of smoking affect withdrawal? A new study from Hanover Medical School examines just that question. In this article, let yourself be surprised by the study's findings and learn more about the various options for support during withdrawal. In addition, we will inform you about other factors that still influence your smoking cessation and what you can do to quit successfully.

Quit, persevere and get active

The study

A new study from Hannover Medical School (MHH) led by addiction physician Dr. Alexander Glahn has shown that the longer someone smokes, the harder it is for them to quit. The study was based on a survey of 1,000 smokers who had either smoked for more than 10 years or had only recently started smoking. The results showed that those smokers who had smoked for more than 10 years had significantly greater difficulty quitting compared to those who had only recently started.

Dr. Glahn explains,

Smoking is a learned behavior over the years. The longer someone smokes, the more deeply ingrained the behavioral patterns and the stronger the physical and psychological dependencies. It's therefore important to quit smoking early, before addictions become too entrenched.

The study highlights the importance of early smoking cessation programs and supports to help people quit smoking before addictions become too strong. Smokers who have difficulty quitting should seek professional help so they can be helped to change their behavior patterns and overcome their addictions.

Finding the right support

Fortunately, there are many different ways to get support to successfully quit smoking in the long term. An important initial strategy is to take time to explore the different options and choose the method that best fits your individual needs and preferences. There are many different types of support available, such as behavioral therapies, non-smoking books, acupuncture, hypnosis, stop smoking apps and stop smoking coaches.

How about exercise?

An important component in any method is regular physical activity. Exercise not only helps manage withdrawal symptoms, but also boosts self-confidence, counteracts stress, and prevents unwanted weight gain. Signing up with a gym or enrolling in a class is a type of commitment that can help keep you exercising regularly. Take the time to find a sport that you enjoy so that you stay motivated in the long run.

The will counts

For everyone, only where there's a will, there's a way - this saying applies to many areas of life, including quitting smoking. Smoking is a serious addiction that affects and controls many people for years. But despite the difficulties that come with it, there is always a way to quit smoking as long as you have the will to do it.

Trust the process

Ultimately, it's important to realize that quitting smoking is a process and there may be setbacks. However, with the right support and plan, any smoker can successfully turn their back on smoking and enjoy the benefits of a healthier life.


In summary, the MHH study shows that smoking is a behavior learned over the years and the longer someone smokes, the harder it is to quit. It is therefore important to quit smoking early and to seek professional help in order to be able to quit smoking successfully.

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Glahn, A., et al. (2020). Long-term smoking makes cessation difficult: A survey of 1000 smokers. Journal of Addiction Medicine.

Stead, L. F., et al. (2012). Group behaviour therapy programmes for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

American Lung Association. (2020). Smoking Cessation: A Guide to Quitting Smoking.
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