Lots of people slip up when they're trying to quit smoking: it happens. But it doesn't mean you have to stop trying to quit entirely. Get up, brush yourself off and get back to it. We've found that the three biggest triggers for relapse are alcohol, being around other people who are smoking and stress.

So here’s another tool for your EX quit smoking plan. We’ll put it in big letters so you’ll know it’s important:

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

Which means stay away from alcohol for at least a month into your quit smoking effort, longer if you can do it. For many of us at EX who slipped, it happened after a few gulps of alcohol. Alcohol can make it harder to resist smoking. So when one of our friends lit up, we said, “Maybe just one.”   

To help avoid a slip-up in the first place, it helps to plan ahead. But it also means not putting yourself in ANY slippery situations. Do you REALLY need to go talk to your friend when he or she is out having a cigarette break? Do you REALLY need to stop at the same convenience store where you used to buy your cigarettes? Can you get what you need somewhere else? Plan ahead and think through even your small decisions, because that’s where the addiction will try to sneak in.

Right before you have a slip, you’ll get a warning signal. You’ll hear your inner voice making excuses. If you hear yourself saying any of these things, get out of wherever you are. Just go.


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.

If you’re drinking alcohol, stop.
If you’re alone, call a friend.
Go for a walk.
If you’re at a party, leave.
Use your quit smoking medication.
Take some deep breaths.
Hang out in places you’re not allowed to smoke. Go to a movie, a store, any smoke-free public place.
Get out your list of reasons for quitting smoking and read it again.
Drink water.

Look at a picture of your kids, loved ones or anybody who wants you to live.

Temptations will come up around your smoking triggers, so be sure to keep your Cigarette Tracker handy so you know what to look out for.

And keep in mind that slip-ups are more likely to happen when you’re Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired — remind yourself of this by remembering “H.A.L.T.”

Ask yourself right now, before you quit smoking, “What am I going to do when a craving hits?”  Plan ahead, so you're ready for it.

We're glad you're back. How've you been?

If you're ready to become an ex-smoker, we're ready to help you re-learn life without cigarettes.

Get started

Not sure if you're ready to quit? Not sure if EX is right for you?

Sign up to learn more about the free EX Plan.

Please provide a valid email address
Your email is already registered for updates. Click here if you're ready to register for the EX Plan.