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Tobacco Cessation
Predict the Potholes
Despite your best efforts, you may unexpectedly find yourself with a cigarette in your hand, puffing slowly and enjoying every minute.
InteliHealth Medical Content

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Slip-Ups Are Common
In the ideal world, your attempt to quit smoking will go smoothly and you'll never smoke another cigarette (let alone want another one). But the world is not ideal, and you may slip up after your quit day.
Despite your best efforts, you may unexpectedly find yourself with a cigarette in your hand, puffing slowly and enjoying every minute. Crush that cigarette out as soon as you realize what you're doing. Don't let the nicotine seduce you.
Stay on Track
If you slip, it doesn't mean you're incapable of quitting. You can quit. Get right back on track. One slip doesn't mean you give up your plans. You're still a nonsmoker, even with one slip under your belt.
Try to identify what made you slip. Were you particularly stressed after a hard day at work? Did a co-worker offer you a smoke? Maybe it was your first time at a bar since you quit. As a nonsmoker, you'll face these predicaments over and over again. Each hurdle you overcome makes the next one appear smaller.
The best thing you can do is to learn from your slip. Is there a better way to handle it the next time you find yourself in the same situation? If a trigger made you smoke, are there ways to handle that trigger (or avoid it altogether)?
You don't need to return to square one after a slip. You have the building blocks in place to be a successful quitter. Remind yourself of the reasons you want to quit and get right back in the fight.
Quit, and Quit Again (Until You Quit for Real)
According to the American Lung Association, the average smoker tries quitting two to four times before succeeding at creating a tobacco-free life. Quitting smoking is tough. It takes time, effort and energy.
Just because you were unsuccessful at quitting in the past does not mean you will never be able to quit. Use your first attempt at quitting — or your first few attempts, if you have tried more than once — as a training ground for learning about yourself and about your smoking habits.
(By the way, most "slips" occur within the first three weeks of quitting. If you make it over this initial hurdle, congratulate yourself. You're doing great!)
Keep in mind that more than half of all adult smokers have successfully quit, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can, too.




Last updated June 02, 2014

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