Tips for slips and relapse

It usually takes many times before someone quits for good. A slip is having one or two cigarettes while trying to quit. A relapse is when you go back to regular smoking. Remember that both are temporary setbacks - but common parts of the quitting journey.

Try not to think of quitting as an all or nothing occurrence. It’s a gradual process that can take many quit attempts before you finally succeed.  

What to do if you have a relapse

If you go back to regular smoking don’t panic or get down on yourself. Quitting smoking is hard and it can take numerous tries before you quit for good, so don’t get discouraged. Cravings can show up when you least expect it, no matter how long you’ve been quit. The key is to figure out the triggers that cause your cravings so you can be prepared to fight them off. 

Acknowledge. Use this time to acknowledge you’ve had a setback but that this is part of the quitting journey. Recognize that yes, quitting is hard and that it may take time to make it stick. But like all things worthwhile, don’t let a little setback stop you from reaching your ultimate goal of being smoke-free. 

Reflect. 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 avoid these triggers in the future?

Plan. Set a new quit date and give yourself time to prepare. Learn what tripped you up last time and make a plan for how you will handle your tricky triggers, deal with the cravings and manage high-risk situations. 

Get your support lined up. Let your friends and family know you are re-setting your quit date and ask for support. Be specific with what they can do to help you deal with your triggers and stay on course. And check out our Forum to connect with others quitters who’ve been there.

Talk to a pro. If you need extra support or advice to stay on track, our Quit Coaches are always available by phone or Live chat. You can also access our Quit Coaches by registering with the text program for personalized support tailored to your quit date.

Try, try again. Remember that quitting is a process – not an event. Get back on the non-smoking track immediately – and no matter what – try, try again. You’ve got this!