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Smoking Cessation Health Center

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Quitting Smoking - Dealing With Relapse

If you slip or smoke a little, don't give up. Talk to someone who has quit smoking, or to a counselor, to get ideas of what to do. A slip can quickly turn into regular smoking, so it's important to do something different soon. If you are taking medicine or using nicotine replacement, keep doing so unless you go back to regular smoking. And consider adding a new treatment, like one-on-one counseling.

You're not alone in going back to smoking. Most people who quit try many times before they quit for good.

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Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will cover preventive care services, including checkups, vaccinations and screening tests, at no cost to you. Learn more.

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Don't feel bad about yourself. A relapse is just a sign that you need to try a different approach to quitting smoking. If you tried to quit without medicines or a program, think about trying them next time. Medicines and nicotine replacement (gum, patches, lozenges) can double your chances of success.1 And using medicines and counseling is even more effective.

Think about what made you start smoking again. Maybe you couldn't handle the cravings. Or maybe you didn't have enough support from family or friends. Maybe something stressful happened that triggered the urge to smoke, and then you couldn't stop.

Whatever it was, remember that help is here when you are ready to try again. You might want to read Thinking About Quitting? or Planning Your Strategy to Quit in this topic.


One Man's Story:

Nate's struggle to quit was a constant cycle of attempts and relapses. It was hard on his self-esteem.

"It seemed like trying just made it more difficult to quit. I felt like a failure every day."-Nate, 27

Read more about Nate and how he quit for good.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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