Dealing with a Quit Smoking Lapse

Quit smoking lapses do happen to some people. You may find Winding Roadyourself in a situation where one of your most difficult triggers catches you off-guard. Many people try to rationalize that "just one" won't do any harm. Unfortunately for most people, "just one" quickly undoes all of their hard work up to that point.

Mistakes do happen! It's okay. Don't give up! A lapse only becomes a discouragement if you give up and return to regular smoking.To improve your chances avoiding a lapse, be sure to plan for high-risk triggers and situations. Even if a new or forgotten trigger comes up, don't be discouraged. While you'll do your best to plan for every situation, some situations do come as a surprise. Here are some tips on how to handle a lapse.

Stop smoking
Throw away your cigarette(s) and do a deep breathing exercise. Take out your reasons to quit smoking sheet to assess and reflect on your motivation to quit. Here are a few more things to consider doing if you experience a lapse:

  • Talk with a support person
  • Leave the situation that led to the lapse
  • Go for a walk
  • Try another coping method
Ask yourself some tough question about what led to the lapse. This will help you in avoiding future lapse. Soon, lapses won't be an issue.
  • What happened to make you want to smoke?
  • Where were you and who were you with?
  • Was it a physical urge or habitual urge that led to you smoking?
  • What emotions were you feeling?
  • Did the cigarette make the problem go away?
  • Did the cigarette make you feel better, or worse?
  • Which coping method(s) did not work?
  • How will you handle this situation if it happens again?
Now that you've reflected on the lapse, let any guilt go! Now is not the time to "beat yourself up" about a mistake. We all make mistakes! What's most important is what we learn from our mistakes.

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