Quitting takes practice! It can take several quit attempts to quit smoking or vaping for good. Nicotine in cigarettes and vapes is highly addictive, so it’s common to return to smoking one or more times throughout your quit journey.

a hand reaching out to help

What is the difference between slips and relapses?

A slip is when you have a couple of cigarettes or puffs of a vape while trying to quit. A relapse is returning to regular smoking or vaping.

Both are temporary setbacks that most people experience during their quit journeys. You’re not alone in this experience and there are things you can do to prevent and move forward from slips and relapses.


What to Do if You Have a Slip

Remember - quitting takes persistence and having a slip is part of the process. Instead of viewing a slip as a failure, try to see it as a learning experience.  

  • Identify what triggered the urge to smoke or vape. 
  • Think about how you will handle it differently in the future – either by avoiding the trigger or coming up with new strategies for coping with cravings. 
  • Remind yourself of your goals and reasons for quitting. 
  • Treat yourself with compassion and try to stay positive.  
  • Try, try again! 

Remember, a slip is a small bump in the road. It doesn’t take away from the progress you’ve made so far on your quit journey. Try to avoid “all-or-nothing" thinking. Instead of saying “I’ve had one cigarette, so I’ve ruined all my progress”, try reminding yourself “I stayed quit for a week before I slipped, I can do it again”.  

If you need extra help

  • Call or live chat with our Quit Coaches for advice 
  • Visit the Community Forum to share your experiences with others who get it 
  • Consider using or adjusting your quit aids like nicotine gum or patches 

What to Do if You Have a Relapse

If you go back to regular smoking or vaping, try to go easy on yourself. Quitting is hard for a lot of people, and it can take several tries to quit for good. Cravings can show up when you least expect it, no matter how long it has been since you have quit. The key is to figure out the triggers that cause your cravings so that you’re prepared to handle them next time.


Acknowledging the bump on the journey – and that it was just that, a bump – as well as the simple truth that quitting is difficult can help provide a lot of relief when you’re being hard on yourself. Acknowledgement is the recognition that the relapse happened, but that it doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your ultimate goal of quitting long-term.


Be thoughtful 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 or vape? Is there another strategy you could use to avoid these triggers in the future?


When you’re ready to try again, set a new quit date and give yourself time to prepare. (Tip: visit your profile and click “I’ve relapsed” to set a new quit date.)  

Take a look at your list of reasons for quitting. Your “why” can help motivate you to try again.  

Prepare your supports

Let your loved ones know you are setting a new quit date and ask for support. Be specific with what they can do to help you deal with your triggers and stay on course. Visit our Community Forum to connect with others who have experienced similar situations

Talk to a professional

We’re here for you! If you need extra support or advice to stay on track, our Quit Coaches are always available by phone or live chat.

Review your coping strategies 

Plan how you will avoid or cope with triggers to smoke or vape 

Plan for ongoing support

  • Use NRT to reduce withdrawal and cravings. Talk to your health care provider if you’re experiencing cravings and want to try or adjust NRT or quit medications.  
  • Call our Quit Coaches for motivation and accountability 
  • Live chat with our Quit Coaches to get your questions answered 
  • Visit our Community Forum for support from other people who have quit 
  • Lean on your friends and family to help you stay on track