Vitamins to Help Quit Smoking

Find out which supplements could improve your chances of kicking nicotine

Woman smoking
Many smokers wonder how to quit their addiction. Seb Oliver / Getty Images

If you're having a hard time managing cravings and staying focused on your smoking cessation goal, you may be wondering about vitamins to help quit smoking. While there's little firm data to prove that vitamin supplements will directly assist with smoking cessation, some of the overall health benefits related to taking supplements may improve your chances for successfully quitting.

And research does show that the nutritional status of smokers is poorer than that of non-smokers or ex-smokers.

 Cigarette smoke is a toxic blend of poisons and cancer-causing chemicals that put virtually every internal organ at risk when we smoke. It creates an abundance of free radicals that can cause cellular damage and deplete essential vitamins and minerals in our bodies.

Which Vitamins Should I Take?

Before you begin taking any supplements, talk about it with your doctor. Other medications or health considerations may affect the type of supplements or dosage you should take. Discuss whether a general multivitamin would be best or whether you should increase your intake of one or more specific vitamins. Some of the options to consider:

Multivitamins: Smoking is hard on the body. As with any addiction, a period of nutritional recovery can help you to regain your energy and good health, so you need to ensure you're getting the right balance of nutrients. The best way to do that is through a well-balanced diet, including lots of fruits and vegetables, which have been study-proven to increased satiety in smokers (smokers often mistake hunger cues for nicotine cravings) making them less likely to light up.

 But eating right is not always easy, so for some people, a multivitamin is a good way to ensure you get the appropriate nutrients every day. It will also help keep the fatigue that often occurs during nicotine withdrawal to a minimum.

Vitamin B complex: B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin B9 (folate), are vital for healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver.

Anecdotal reports indicate that these vitamins may help curb nicotine cravings and irritability, but there's no research data to prove these claims. 

Niacin (vitamin B3) is chemically similar to nicotine, and in fact, its name was changed from nicotinic acid to niacin to avoid confusion between the two substances. Again, no studies have proven that Niacin can help smokers quit, but there has been some speculation that niacin eases nicotine addiction. The theory is that the vitamin attaches to the niacin receptor sites in the brain (which are taken up by nicotine in smokers) in the same way that opiates take up the endorphin receptors in the brain in opiate addicts. Large doses of niacin can result in liver damage and other health complications, so you'll need to talk with your physician before adding a supplement to your diet.

If you're struggling severely with nicotine cravings, you might want to discuss with your health care provider whether it's safe to try these supplements — but remember there are no "magic pills" that will make quitting easy.



Clarkes, R. "Niacin for Nicotine?" The Lancet, p. 936. April 26th 1980.

Evans, C. and Lacey, J. "Toxicity of Vitamins: Complications of a Health Movement." BMJ. 292:509-510. 22 February 1986.

Gariballa, S. and Forster, S. "Effects of Smoking on Nutrition Status and Response to Dietary Supplements During Acute Illness." Nutr Clin Pract24:84-90. 2009.

Griggs, R. "Nicotinic Acid." Science, p. 171. February 13th 1942.

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