Slips and relapses after quitting smoking
What’s the difference?
One or two cigarettes after quitting is known as a slip-up. Even ‘just one puff’ counts for most people. If you say ‘I’ll just have one’, you’re one step closer to a relapse. A slip-up is not the same as a relapse. A relapse is when you go back to smoking every day.
Mistakes can teach you something. Just remind yourself that this is just a short-term setback. You haven’t failed, and you aren’t starting over. A slip-up doesn’t make you a smoker again, and is not a reason to give up and relapse to smoking.
Get ready to get back on track after a slip-up and avoid another one. Think about how you are going to avoid or deal with your triggers and cravings.
It can take a while to stop smoking, and you might get angry or frustrated during that time. There’s a chance that you might slip-up and smoke a cigarette at some point. Remember that a lot of people who try to stop smoking slip-up.
Slip-ups happen most often in the first three months after quitting, but they can happen at any time. Many people need more than one chance to give up for good.
You can get back on the right track – just think about everything you’ve achieved so far. Try to stay positive and remind yourself that a slip-up is just one bump in the road on your smokefree journey.
If you know what sets you off, you can figure out why you slipped-up. Find ways to avoid the things that set you off, and have a plan for how to deal with cravings to help you get past them.
Tips for slip-ups
A lot of smokers who are trying to quit slip-up and smoke a cigarette. You’re not alone. Don’t let a single mistake be your reason to start smoking again.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip-up. A mistake doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that you’re going backwards. It doesn’t mean you can’t stop for good.
You should be proud of how long you went without smoking. Think about what you did to stay away from your triggers and beat your cravings. Try using these ways to deal with things again:
- It’s important to get smokefree again right away. Don’t give up on your goal to stop smoking completely.
- Get support. Talk to family or friends if you make a mistake. Ask them for help if you don’t want to smoke. You don’t need to do it by yourself.
- Think about what you learned during the time you didn’t smoke. What kept you from smoking and what made you start again? What can you change now to help you stop smoking again?
- Use alternative therapies to replace nicotine, such as nicotine vaping products (NVPs) or NRT. Even if you slip-up and smoke one or two cigarettes, you don’t have to stop using them. Using these nicotine replacements makes it more likely that you won’t start smoking again.
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