It Takes Practice to Make Progress

After Quit Day the temptation to smoke can be great. But with cigarettes, it’s easier to have none than one. So what if you do slip up and smoke? Or if you go back to smoking regularly? That’s what this session is all about.

NOTE: Although the Getting Back on Track activity in this session is optional—for use only if you need it, the Session 7 Quiz will count toward earning your certificate.

Defining a Slip Versus a Relapse

A slip and a relapse are two different things, requiring different action plans to overcome.

Slip:

Having one or two cigarettes after Quit Day.

Relapse:

Returning to regular smoking after Quit Day

What to Do If You Slip and Have a Cigarette

If you slip and smoke a cigarette, or even two, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. But it does mean you need to take action to get back on track

To recover from a slip:

Treat the situation as an emergency. Take immediate action to recover. To start, throw away any cigarettes you may have or avoid the situation that is triggering the urge.

Remind yourself a slip is just a mistake, not a total relapse back to smoking. You can be better prepared to avoid temptation next time.

Renew your commitment to quit. It may help to review your Reasons for Quitting on the Dashboard.

Plan for next time. You may need to refine your Quit Plan based on what happened. The Getting Back on Track activity below can also help.

If you are using a quit-smoking medication and slip, don’t stop using it. Follow the directions provided, but talk to your healthcare provider to see whether your medication needs an adjustment to be more effective.

Feel as though you’re losing a battle against the urge to smoke? Instead of giving in, try talking through it. Just call the Lung HelpLine or your support person and, within three to five minutes your urge should pass. It’s a great delay tactic!


Lung HelpLine

What to Do if You Relapse and Start Smoking Again

A relapse, or full return to smoking after Quit Day, can feel like a big failure but don’t be too hard on yourself. Smoking is a powerful addiction. Many people have to make multiple attempts to quit before they are able to stay smokefree. Practice makes progress possible. You can still quit for good as long as you keep trying.

If you have a relapse, don’t lose sight of your future smokefree life. Once you find the right Quit Plan for you, you can quit smoking for good.

Getting Back on Track

If you slip and smoke a cigarette or relapse and start smoking again, this activity can help you figure out what happened to cause it so you can be ready for next time.

This activity is optional. If you are still smokefree, skip to the next section. If you need to get back on track in the future, you’ll be able to access this activity directly from the Dashboard.

Start here if you had a slip and smoked a few cigarettes since Quit Day.

A slip does not mean you have gone back to smoking. But it does mean you should take action to avoid slipping again or relapsing. By thinking about what led to your slip, you can be better prepared to say no to tobacco next time.

First, think about the actions that led to your slip. What were you doing and feeling?

Now think about how you might cope with a similar temptation without smoking in the future.

I could avoid smoking next time by

Think about a person you can ask for help to get through another similar urge.

Next time, to avoid a slip I will call this person to help me get through the urge:
Edit activity


Start here if you had a relapse and have gone back to regular smoking since Quit Day.

You may be disappointed by your relapse but going back to smoking doesn’t mean you can’t quit. Select the statement that best represents how you are feeling right now. Either answer is okay. Choose what is right for you.

I want to keep trying to quit now. With another chance, I think I can do this. I think I need more time before I’m ready to try quitting again.

We are glad you want to continue with your journey to quit smoking. We recommend you follow this plan to reset your Quit Day and try again:

  • Today: Change your Quit Day to a new one two days from now, then review and edit your Quit Plan from Session 4. Which three cigarettes were the most difficult to give up? Think of new strategies to not smoke these cigarettes. Also think about your Medication Plan. Talk to your healthcare provider or call the Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA(1-800-586-4872) if the plan you chose did not seem to help with your strong urges.
  • Day Two: Practice not smoking just the cigarettes you listed on your Quit Plan. Review the Three A’s in Session 4 and the Four D’s in Session 5 for more coping strategies.
  • Day Three (Quit Day!): Quit smoking altogether, with a goal to make it for at least 24 hours. At the end of the day, reward yourself for whatever progress you’ve made.
  • Day Four: If you stayed smokefree on day three, continue with the sessions in Part 3 to reinforce and maintain being smokefree.

Select your path:

I’m ready to try to quit again using this plan. On second thought, I may need more time before I’m ready to try to quit again.

It’s good you are being honest with yourself. Although you may not be ready to quit now, everything you did while participating in Freedom From Smoking will help you next time you are ready to quit.

At this point, you have one more choice to make about your participation in Freedom From Smoking:

I want to continue with Freedom From Smoking even though I do not plan to quit right now. I’d like to earn my Certificate of Completion by finishing the activities and quizzes. I plan to stop using Freedom From Smoking for now.
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You’re Not Alone

You’re not the only one who has struggled to quit smoking. In fact most smokers have to try quitting more than once before they’re able to quit for good.

Hear Shannon’s story.

Bringing it All Together

Every cigarette you don’t smoke and every time you say no to an urge is a small victory toward becoming a nonsmoker. One slip or even a relapse doesn’t change that. Remember:

One slip doesn’t mean you are a smoker again. Just treat it as an emergency and take immediate action so you don’t smoke again.

Even if you relapse, it’s still possible to get back on track to quit as long as you are ready and willing to try again.

Don’t give up. Even if you don’t quit this time, as long as you keep trying, you will be able to quit for good.

True or False? A relapse is when you smoke a cigarette or two after Quit Day. True False The answer is false. A relapse is when you go back to regular smoking after quitting. A slip is when you smoke just one or two cigarettes. If you slip and smoke a cigarette after Quit Day, you should: Treat it as an emergency and take immediate action. Give up on this quit attempt and try again later. Start Freedom From Smoking over at Session 1. If you slip, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. But you should treat your situation as an emergency and take immediate action to get back on track. For example, throw away any cigarettes you have and avoid the trigger that led to your slip. If you relapse after quitting smoking your best course of action is to: Keep trying by following the four-day plan to get back on track. Wait until you feel ready to try to quit again. Either answer is correct. You should do whichever feels right for you. If you relapse and start smoking again after Quit Day, you need to make the choice that’s right for you. If you want to try to get right back on track, that’s great! We say go for it. But if you need more time to assess whether you are ready to quit now, that’s okay too. Either way, the Lung HelpLine can provide advice and support at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).

Before returning to the Dashboard, it might be valuable to go back and review this session to make sure you understand the key points.

Having a slip or relapse can feel like a serious setback but both can be overcome if you renew your commitment to quitting and try again. The main point is to not give up. You will be able to quit for good. When you come back for Session 8, you’ll return to the exciting process of learning how to move forward and enjoy a life without smoking.

Before returning to the Dashboard, it might be valuable to go back and review this session to make sure you understand the key points.

Having a slip or relapse can feel like a serious setback but both can be overcome if you renew your commitment to quitting and try again. The main point is to not give up. You will be able to quit for good. When you come back for Session 8, you’ll return to the exciting process of learning how to move forward and enjoy a life without smoking.

Great Job! Having a slip or relapse can feel like a serious setback but both can be overcome if you renew your commitment to quitting and try again. The main point is to not give up. You will be able to quit for good. When you come back for Session 8, you’ll return to the exciting process of learning how to move forward and enjoy a life without smoking.

Great Job! Having a slip or relapse can feel like a serious setback but both can be overcome if you renew your commitment to quitting and try again. The main point is to not give up. You will be able to quit for good. When you come back for Session 8, you’ll return to the exciting process of learning how to move forward and enjoy a life without smoking.

Review quiz

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