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.
What to Do if You Have a Slip
Remember - quitting takes practice and having a slip is part of the quitting process. A slip should not be considered a failure, do not use it as an excuse to go back to regular smoking or vaping.
What to Do if You Have a Relapse
If you go back to regular smoking do not panic or get down on yourself. Quitting smoking is hard and it can take numerous tries before you quit for good, do not get discouraged. 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 to help you be prepared to fight them off.
Use this time to acknowledge you have had a setback, that this is part of the quitting journey. Recognize that yes, quitting is hard and that it may take time to make it stick. Like all things worthwhile, do not let a little setback stop you from reaching your ultimate goal of being smoke-free.
Get your support lined up
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.
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?
Talk to a professional
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 have got this!
Strategies for Preventing Slips or Relapse
Everyone has different signs right before they have a slip and they can be easily missed.
Here are a few strategies for recognizing and dealing with situations that might trigger a slip:
Recognize the warning signs
- Know your triggers and temptations that cause major cravings to smoke
- Be aware of emotional states that can trigger your cravings, e.g. negative moods (anger, anxiety, depression) or positive moods (celebrations)
- Recognize that negative physical states, e.g. pain, illness and fatigue can be triggers to smoke
- Feeling like you have everything under control and can have a smoke every once in a while (which you cannot)
- Experiencing withdrawal or cravings long after quitting
- Socializing with others who smoke or living with someone who smokes
Review your coping strategies
Plan for ongoing support
- Use NRT to reduce withdrawal and cravings. Adjust medication if you are still experiencing cravings
- Call our Quit Coaches for motivation and be accountable to someone
- Live chat with our Quit Coaches to stay connected with and be accountable to someone
- Visit our Community Forum for support from other people who have quit
- Line up friends and family to help you stay on track