Managing setbacks

Setbacks are not a failure, but rather an opportunity to learn. The more you learn the better your chances of success. The effort is worth it.

Slips and relapses

The big picture

First things first, it’s important to understand that slips and relapses are often part of your journey to be smoke-free. Dealing with a setback may be disappointing but it can also be an opportunity to learn. Treat setbacks as a chance to regroup and to renew your commitment to becoming smoke-free.

Over 75% of people who quit smoking will relapse within their first 6 months. In fact, on average it can take over 7 attempts to finally quit for good.

Quitting smoking is rarely a single event. It's a process that spans months or even years. Think of each quit attempt as a step towards your goal. That path is rarely a straight line either, so don’t be discouraged by some side steps along the way.

What to do if you start smoking again

Stay calm

Slips are part of the process of quitting. This is not a failure and not a reason to panic. Instead, think of it as a warning and a time to refocus.


Take your slip up seriously. Use this moment to realize that you have made a misstep, but that you still have a chance to get back on track. Now is the time to figure out what went wrong, and how to move forward.  


Think critically about what caused your relapse and what you might do differently next time. Is there a particular trigger (a situation, place, or person) that made you want to smoke? Is there another strategy you could use to cope with your craving?


Now that you’ve experienced the possibility for a relapse, think about how you will confront the next opportunity to slip-up. Plan for the next time you are tempted to slip again.

Talk to a pro

If you ever need any support or information, our Quit Coaches are always available by phone, expert chat, or by text message.

Try, try again.

Get back on the non-smoking track immediately – if you are determined to stop smoking you can do it.

Here when you need us. Let us guide you through any setbacks you might experience.