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Beat the Urge to Smoke

There are lots of things that can make you slip up – like being stressed out, drinking alcohol, having coffee or being offered a cigarette from a friend. You’ll know you’re in a slippery situation if you start making the “I’ll just have one” excuse.

Here’s what you can do to beat the urge to smoke:

  • Call a friend.
  • Think back to your separation exercises. Remember how you broke the glue between your cigarettes and their triggers? Tell yourself you'll light up five or 10 minutes from now. If you can delay smoking, the urge will pass.
  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free quitting help or visit their website (
  • Go back and look at your reasons for quitting.
  • Don’t bum a cigarette. If you are going to smoke, make yourself go buy your own pack. No one else should feel responsible for your slip up.
  • Don't buy a pack in the same place where you're having the craving. Walking from one spot to another may give you a few minutes to think about what you’re going to do and change your mind.
  • If you do buy a pack, only take out one cigarette and destroy the rest before you light up. Slipping up with one cigarette is a lot better than slipping up with the whole pack.

Get Your Quit Back on Track

If you slip up and smoke a cigarette, don’t use it as an excuse to give up completely. You’ve already made huge progress. This is just a setback. You can get past this.

Think about what went wrong and make a plan to fight your next craving. Remember, it takes most people an average of eight to 11 attempts to succeed in quitting smoking for good. So slip-ups are normal. Just go back to tracking your cigarettes and working on re-learning your triggers. You also might need to try a different quit smoking medication or even try a couple of them together. If you’ve chosen not to rely on medication, maybe now’s the time to make it part of your plan. Go back and review the different types to find the one that’s right for you. Don’t forget – the right medication can double your chances of success. You can do this. We know you can.

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