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How to Quit Smoking, Again 

Cigarette butt on top of a calendar with the date circled and a written message saying

If you're like most smokers who have tried to quit, you may have tried unsuccessfully several times. But you can try again and succeed.

The following suggestions can help you kick the habit, again, for good. 

Understand your relapse

If you relapse, the first thing you should do is not give up. Instead, take stock of the situation. When did the relapse start and what caused it?

Once you understand why it happened, you can begin to think about ways to get back on track.

Here are some steps you can take if you slip and smoke a cigarette:

  • Treat the situation like an emergency. Stop smoking immediately! Get rid of all cigarettes.

  • Make a list of coping strategies sure to work for you this time. Look at those that helped you before you slipped. Forget about those that didn't work for you in the past.

  • Review your list of reasons for wanting to quit whenever you feel you're slipping back into your old habit. When the urge hits, say, "I'm going to make it this time."

  • Call a quit smoking hotline for encouragement. Research has shown that such hotlines really do help people quit. They give them someone to talk with when they get the urge to smoke.

Prevent relapse

One way to head off a relapse is to practice handling some possible situations that might tempt you to smoke, so you'll be prepared for them.

Ask yourself what you should do if one of these common situations arises:

  • You're at a party and a friend offers you your old brand of cigarettes.

  • You're under a lot of pressure at work and your supervisor wants a report right away. You can't focus and see a pack of cigarettes in a co-worker's jacket.

The key to coping with smoking urges is to plan ahead. Then wherever you are, you'll have something to do instead of smoking.

 For example, whenever you want a cigarette, try the four D's:

  • Delay. The urge to smoke will pass if you light up or not.

  • Deep breathe.

  • Drink water.

  • Do something to take your mind off smoking.

Online Medical Reviewer: Eric Perez MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Maryann Foley RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Paula Goode RN BSN MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2019
© 2000-2019 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.