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Overcoming a slip-up after you quit smoking

Most people try several times before they quit smoking for good.

"Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a thousand times," Mark Twain is supposed to have said.

Maybe you can relate to this sentiment. Maybe you've tried to quit and then slipped up.

But that doesn't have to set you back to square one with smoking.

The difference between a slip and a relapse is within your control. You can either use the slip as an excuse to go back to smoking, or you can review what went wrong and renew your commitment to staying quit for good.

Here's what the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society recommend:

  • Don't punish or blame yourself. Tell yourself you're still a nonsmoker.
  • Think about why you smoked and decide what you'll do the next time it comes up.
  • Sign a contract to stay a nonsmoker.
  • Review your reasons for quitting, and think of all the benefits to your health, your finances and your family.
  • Remind yourself that it's not OK to have just one cigarette—or even one puff.

Yes, quitting takes hard work and a lot of effort, but you can do it.

Stronger next time

Remember, most people try several times before they finally quit smoking. Review what helped you and what seemed to work against you. Use that information to make an even stronger attempt next time.

Reviewed 5/15/2023

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