Understanding Slip-Ups

Lots of people slip up and have a cigarette when they're trying to quit smoking. It happens. But it doesn't mean you should give up and stop trying to quit entirely. Get up, brush yourself off and get back in the game. Of course, while you’re doing that, it helps to understand why you slipped up in the first place. Were you stressed out? Having a drink? Did someone offer you a cigarette? Think back to what happened and make a plan for getting past it next time. And remember...

If you don’t want to slip up, stay away from slippery situations.

So what exactly is a slippery situation? Well, it’s anything that can really tempt you to reach for a cigarette. People, places, things - even feelings - can all be slippery. So in your first few weeks of quitting, steer clear of these high-risk situations until you know you can handle them. And if something’s impossible to avoid- like family members or friends who smoke- plan ahead so they don’t trip you up.

Here are some examples of what we’re talking about.

  • Bars and Alcohol

    One of the major reasons for slipping up is alcohol. Drinking lowers your resolve, so try to avoid alcohol for the first few weeks.

    One of the major reasons for slipping up is alcohol. Drinking lowers your resolve, so try to avoid alcohol for the first few weeks.

  • Smoking Areas

    Some places are just home base for smokers – the sidewalk outside of work, the patio at a party, etc. So avoid these areas where people light up.

    Some places are just home base for smokers – the sidewalk outside of work, the patio at a party, etc. So avoid these areas where people light up.

  • Friends Who Smoke

    Seeing your friends smoke is a big temptation. So let them know you need their support during your quit. They’ll understand.

    Seeing your friends smoke is a big temptation. So let them know you need their support during your quit. They’ll understand.

  • Places You Smoke

    You can't avoid your car or your house, but if you used to smoke outside at work or at the local diner, take a small break from those places.

    You can't avoid your car or your house, but if you used to smoke outside at work or at the local diner, take a small break from those places.

  • H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired)

    You're more likely to slip up when you're hungry, angry, lonely or tired, so take care of yourself.

    You're more likely to slip up when you're hungry, angry, lonely or tired, so take care of yourself.

Right before you slip up, you'll usually get a warning signal – an inner voice making excuses. So when you hear that inner voice persuading you to light up, get out of wherever you are. Take a walk, go home, or just do anything else to get your mind thinking differently.

  • Warning Signs 1

    I've gone three weeks without smoking. I've proved I can quit, so I can have just one.

    I've gone three weeks without smoking. I've proved I can quit, so I can have just one.

  • Warning Signs 2

    I can't do my job without smoking. I can't think straight.

    I can't do my job without smoking. I can't think straight.

  • Warning Signs 3

    My aunt smoked a pack a day and lived to be 95.

    My aunt smoked a pack a day and lived to be 95.

  • Warning Signs 4

    I just need it when I’m here. When I get home, I won’t keep smoking.

    I just need it when I’m here. When I get home, I won’t keep smoking.

  • Warning Signs 5

    Well, maybe just one couldn’t hurt.

    Well, maybe just one couldn’t hurt.

  • Warning Signs 6

    Screw it. Everyone has got to die of something.

    Screw it. Everyone has got to die of something.

  • Warning Signs 7

    I'll just try one of these 'light' cigarettes.

    I'll just try one of these 'light' cigarettes.

Hearing thoughts like these is a warning signal that you're on the verge of returning to smoking. When you hear yourself thinking like this, wherever you are, change the situation.

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