Smoking again can happen to anyone who has quit. It may start as "just one," but for many people it can mean a return to their previous smoking habit.
You think that this may be a problem for you. But you can safeguard your success by making an easy-to-follow plan for returning to smoke free status in the event that you do smoke again.
Smoking again says nothing about your ability to stay smoke free – unless you use it as an excuse to give up.
An Ounce (Or Two) of Prevention...
Prevention is the best way to avoid this problem.
- Avoid being overconfident. For example, believing that you can just have one is usually a fantasy. Likewise, don't keep cigarettes around to prove that you can resist them. It's almost always a bad idea.
- Look out for other signs of rationalization. When you start thinking, "I deserve a cigarette..." or "This is too hard..." or "I’m under too much stress to focus on quitting...", have your answers ready. Before taking that first cigarette, review your list of reasons for quitting.
- Continue to stay away from your triggers for smoking.
- No matter how long you've been smoke free or nicotine-free, it's far better to use the nicotine lozenge or nicotine gum program rather than smoke that first cigarette. Nicotine is only one of over 4,000 chemicals and toxins you'll avoid by not smoking again.
Pound (Or More) of Cure...
Again, watch out for rationalizing. "I've already blown it..." or "I guess this isn't a good time to quit..." Or "I just don't have what it takes to quit..." all have to be countered. Then do something positive that recommits you to being smoke free. For example, exercise, take a shower, call a buddy for support, restart nicotine replacement therapy product (at a lower rate), or visualize yourself smoke free and healthy.
A Tale of Two Smokers
Consider two 1 pack-per-day smokers. Each quits for 2 months before having their first cigarette. One gives up. By the end of the year, he has smoked about 6,100 cigarettes. The second quits again. He lasts two more months, smokes, then quits again, and so on for the rest of the year. By the end of the year, he has smoked only 6 cigarettes. Who is succeeding at being smoke free? The point is that re-quitting is always more important than re-smoking. Resolve now to re-quit immediately if you happen to smoke again.