Relapsing as You Quit Smoking

While you’re trying to quit smoking, or even after you’ve successfully quit, you may give in to the craving for a cigarette. When this happens, some people end up feeling like they blew it and just give up and go back to smoking regularly. Try to resist that reaction. It is common to slip up, and you haven’t failed. Here in Bucks County, our Smoking Cessation program will give you the tools to successfully handle a craving.

Slip vs. relapse
It is not uncommon for a smoker who is quitting to have a cigarette or two. Even after quitting, you may find yourself in the presence of a smoker and just can’t resist sharing a cigarette. You may be stressed and think “I really need a cigarette” and you give in. This is what we call a slip.

A relapse is when you go back to smoking regularly. Sometimes a slip can lead to a relapse, especially if you smoked many cigarettes a day. Sometimes just one puff is enough to unravel all your hard effort to quit.

When this happens, it’s understandable to be disappointed, but be gentle with yourself. Quitting any habit is difficult, and overcoming nicotine addiction is especially hard.

Reclaiming your freedom
Maybe you’re lucky enough to be able to only have that one cigarette and go back to being smoke-free. If so, congratulations! But many people need a little more help to continue on their journey toward a smoke-free life.

Every incident is an opportunity to learn and grow. Look at the situation and ask yourself what may have triggered the need for the cigarette. Was it the location? The people? The events? Did you really need it, or did you just want it? What were you thinking about when you took the smoke? This self-examination can help prevent you from relapsing.

But what if you have already relapsed? Don’t worry, you now know you can quit, it is possible for you, and you can do it again. Relapsing is now part of your journey, and it’s an opportunity to learn where you still need to become stronger, what situations you need to avoid, and what support you need to prevent it from happening again.

If you haven’t tried a smoking-cessation support group, try it now to help you finish your success story. We offer a free, 5-week Quit Smoking Program to help you. You can choose between an in-person or virtual group. If you already used a support group, don’t be embarrassed to join again! You will probably be able to help others on the journey because they will be able to learn from the lessons you share. And they will be more determined to cheer you on to a final victory over nicotine.

If someone you love relapses
What if it’s not you who relapsed but someone you love? Take these lessons to heart and don’t make your loved one feel shame. Try to remind your loved one why he or she decided to quit in the first place. Discuss the benefits of being smoke-free and find a support group to help your loved one succeed.

With failure comes progress. Don’t give up, join our Quit Smoking Program to give you the support you may need, and get back to being smoke-free.


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