Quit Guide: Quitting

What To Do If You Do Slip

Don't be discouraged if you slip up and smoke one or two cigarettes. It's not a lost cause. One cigarette is better than an entire pack. But that doesn't mean you can safely smoke every now and then, no matter how long ago you quit. One cigarette may seem harmless, but it can quickly lead back to one or two packs a day.

Many ex-smokers had to try stopping many times before they finally succeeded. When people slip up, it's usually within the first three months after quitting. Here's what you can do if this happens:

  • Understand that you've had a slip. You've had a small setback. This doesn't make you a smoker again.

  • Don't be too hard on yourself. One slip up doesn't make you a failure. It doesn't mean you can't quit for good.

  • Don't be too easy on yourself either. If you slip up, don't say, "Well, I've blown it. I might as well smoke the rest of this pack." It's important to get back on the non-smoking track right away. Remember, your goal is no cigarettes—not even one puff.

  • Feel good about all the time you went without smoking. Try to learn how to make your coping skills better.

  • Find the trigger. Exactly what was it that made you smoke? Be aware of that trigger. Decide now how you will cope with it when it comes up again.

  • Learn from your experience. What has helped you the most to keep from smoking? Make sure to do that on your next try.

  • Are you using a medicine to help you quit? Don't stop using your medicine after only one or two cigarettes. Stay with it. It will help you get back on track.

  • Know and use the tips in this online guide. People with even one coping skill are more likely to stay nonsmokers than those who don't know any. START to stop again!

  • See your doctor or another health professional. He or she can help motivate you to quit smoking.
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In the Quit Guide...
Thinking about quitting
Why quit?
What's in a cigarette?
Reasons for quitting
Why is quitting so hard?
Preparing to quit
The basic steps
Medicines that can help
Other support
Quitting
Steps on quit day
Managing cravings
Withdrawal symptoms
•What to do if you slip
Staying quit
Sticking with it
Resources if you slip
DCCPS NCI NIH CDC HHS USA.gov