Many people are aware of the harmful effects of smoking on their health, but most might not know how it throws off your body’s hydration levels.
When the water levels in the body decrease, you might feel lethargic, unusually tired, and feel dizzy at times.
Let’s look at how smoking makes you feel dehydrated and how to manage your hydration levels after quitting smoking in today’s post.
Nicotine’s Diuretic Effect
Do cigarettes make you dehydrated? One of the key culprits behind smoking-induced dehydration is nicotine, the addictive substance found in cigarettes.
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Aside from pulling you back into lighting one stick after another, nicotine also acts as a diuretic that increases urine production and excretion – leading to dry mouth and dehydration, especially without regular or increased water intake while smoking.
It is crucial for smokers to be mindful of their water consumption and drink a glass or two after consuming a cigarette. But, as most smokers know, that isn’t enough – the most effective way to address dehydration due to smoking is by quitting smoking altogether.
Other Causes of Dehydration
While nicotine is a major contributor to dehydration among smokers, it is essential to recognise that other factors also cause you to feel much more dehydrated than usual after smoking, such as the following:
Hot Weather: Smoking in hot weather can exacerbate the risk of dehydration, as both smoking and high temperatures can lead to increased fluid loss. When the sun is up, it might be better to keep from smoking and drink water instead.
Insufficient Hydration Levels: Many smokers might choose smoke breaks rather than head to a water cooler or drink water from their bottles, leading to poor hydration throughout the day. Being mindful of your water consumption for the day can significantly offset the symptoms of hydration.
Caffeine: Most smokers consume tobacco and coffee or other caffeinated products together. The caffeine in coffee, soda, tea, and other products can compound the dehydrating effects of nicotine, causing a huge imbalance of hydration in the body.
Physical Activities: People with physically demanding jobs involving lifting or a large amount of legwork (such as waiting on tables or delivering packages) sweat and need more water than the average person. If they’re smoking during breaks without proper water intake, they might feel much more tired, lethargic, and dizzy than their non-smoking peers.
Does Smoking Dehydrate Your Skin?
Hydration is essential to the skin. Water balances the acid levels in your body, which helps it look younger and glowing all the time.
While washing your face and body with water daily helps, drinking enough water flushes toxins out of your body. It also helps maintain skin elasticity, reducing wrinkles, scars, and soft lines on your face and any part of the body.
However, even if you have proper hydration while you consume tobacco, you might still see sagging skin, acne growth, frequent skin infections due to your weaker immune system, and other symptoms.
To have good-looking skin throughout the years, consider quitting smoking and improving your hydration levels throughout the process.
Can Quitting Smoking Improve My Hydration Levels?
After you quit smoking, you’ll feel much lighter. In just six days, you’ll feel less anxious as your heart rate and blood pressure levels return to normal levels.
Quitting cigarettes after a week also improves your body’s antioxidant levels, which improves your immune system. Consuming zero tobacco will also make you feel less dizzy and lightheaded and make you able to focus much more on what you need to do.
While quitting may not be easy for everyone, it is undoubtedly the most effective way to address the problem.
Many stop-smoking tools today, such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and nicotine vaping products (NVPs) from pharmacies, make quitting much more manageable – just consult a GP to know more.
Staying Well-Hydrated While Quitting
NRT products and NVPs sold in pharmacies still contain nicotine, which can cause dehydration, but without the dangerous chemicals in cigarette smoke. While on your way to quitting cigarettes, you can stay well-hydrated by doing the following:
Drink Lots of Water: Maintain a consistent water intake to counteract the diuretic effects of nicotine, even while using NRT products or NVPs. You can set up a reminder on your watch or smartphone to reinforce the habit daily.
Take Breaks: Regular hydration might seem simple, but it’s something that’s easy to forget, especially if you only have short breaks in your routine to hydrate and refresh.
Even if you have a critical task at hand or a busy day of moving boxes or waiting tables, take breaks and drink water.
Limit Alcohol Intake: Alcohol is also a diuretic, and when combined with nicotine from NRT products or NVPs, it can further dehydrate you.
While these greatly help you resist lighting a cigarette when spending time around smokers, high alcohol consumption can still cause your hydration levels to plummet, so drink moderately and responsibly.
How to Access Pharmacy-Sold Vaping Products
If you’re ready to quit smoking with the help of the quit-smoking aids available today, here are the steps you can follow through.
Go Through First-Line Solutions First
You need a nicotine prescription before you can purchase NVPs. As a second-line solution, one requirement is that you’ve already tried and failed to quit smoking with a first-line treatment, such as NRT products.
NRT products (like patches and gums) are the most trusted quitting option available for motivated smokers. They might not imitate cigarettes, but they contain a small dose of nicotine that may be enough to alleviate your withdrawals.
While NRTs can be effective, they don’t work for everyone. If these haven’t done the trick for you, you may now be eligible for a nicotine prescription.
Chat to a GP
As mentioned, NRT products have worked for many successful ex-smokers. But, you might have ingrained behaviours and triggers that only something that mimics a cigarette can successfully address, such as the hand-to-mouth motion, and needing something to use while having a drink with friends.
If your GP deems it necessary, they can write you a nicotine prescription for NVPs.
You can chat to your usual GP more about this.
Visit Your Local Pharmacy
Once you have your nicotine prescription, you can pop down to your local pharmacy. Over 2,200 pharmacies across Australia hold these products in-store, but any pharmacy can order these in for you if they don’t currently stock them.
Both your pharmacist and GP can advise you on how best to use the product, such as the initial setup, and the number of puffs to take when you feel withdrawals.
Smoking can make you dehydrated. While drinking lots of water while consuming tobacco can keep the symptoms at bay, quitting cigarettes is the best way to ensure your body is well-hydrated, performs well, and keeps you on your toes throughout the day.
If you need help in stopping smoking, we can help you.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good.