Smoking Slip-Ups and Relapses

Dealing With Smoking Slip-Ups

Although smoking slip-ups (or lapses) aren’t ideal, they can happen – and if you do slip up during your quit smoking journey, you’re certainly not alone!

When relapses occur, it’s common for people to feel they have failed. But the more you learn about the quit smoking process, the clearer it becomes that the number of attempts you make at quitting is an important factor.


Keep Going Until You’re Smoke-Free

Just like learning a new skill, staying quit takes practice and persistence – the important thing is to keep going.

Think of it like learning to ride a bike. You’re likely to fall off a few times, but the only way to learn the skill is to keep trying – you have to get back on and keep practicing until you can do it.


What should I do if I have a smoking slip-up?

If you have a setback in your quit journey – whether it’s a brief or longer return to smoking – it does not mean you’ve failed. Think of it as a learning experience on your path to developing the skill of becoming a non-smoker.

If a slip-up occurs, it’s a good opportunity to review your quit smoking plan. Here are some useful questions to ask yourself:

  • What circumstances led to your smoking slip-up? Is the same situation likely to happen again? Read more about common smoking triggers.
  • What quit strategies would help overcome this situation next time? Check out our Quitting Methods section to read about the options. 
  • Did you only use willpower to try and quit last time? You might want to try one of our willpower exercises.
  • Are you managing withdrawal symptoms effectively? Remember, withdrawal is related to relapse – learn more about withdrawal symptoms. 
  • If you used Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or a prescribed quit smoking medication, did you use them correctly? Reducing the recommended timeframe, minimising the dose, or only using these products occasionally will reduce their effectiveness, so be sure to follow the instructions.

You might prefer to set a shorter, more manageable quit goal, such as a target of just one or two days of not smoking. You can always carry on for longer if you feel up to it.

When it comes to your quit smoking attempt, the important thing to remember is this – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by just giving it a go.

If you have a slip-up, it’s a good idea to remind yourself why you want to quit smoking. Visit Remember Why You’re Quitting for more information.

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