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Remember the Mark Twain quote? Maybe you, too, have quit many times before. If so, you know that staying quit is the final, longest, and most important stage of the process. You can use the same methods as you did to help you through withdrawal. Think ahead to those times when you may be tempted to smoke, and plan on how you’ll use other ways to cope with those situations.

More dangerous, perhaps, are the unexpected strong desires to smoke that can sometimes happen months or even years after you’ve quit. Rationalizations can show up then, too. To get through these without relapse, try these:

  • Remember your reasons for quitting and think of all the benefits to your health, your finances, and your family.
  • Remind yourself that there is no such thing as just one cigarette – or even just one puff.
  • Ride out the desire to smoke. It will go away, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you can have just one.
  • Avoid alcohol. Drinking lowers your chance of success.
  • If you’re worried about weight gain, put some energy into planning a healthy diet and finding ways to exercise and stay active.

Recovering from slips

What if you do smoke? Here’s the difference between a slip and a relapse: a slip is a one-time mistake that’s quickly corrected. A relapse is going back to smoking. You can use the slip as an excuse to go back to smoking, or you can look at what went wrong and renew your commitment to staying away from smoking for good.


Last Medical Review: 02/06/2014
Last Revised: 02/06/2014