NHS Bristol Smokefree

I've relapsed ..















lhs pic try

Many people who quit smoking relapse at some point. Don’t be put off trying again. The key is to learn from what went wrong so you’re more likely to succeed next time.



Be positive.  Believe in yourself.


If you do relapse, don't be hard on yourself. It can sometimes take a few attempts to quit smoking for good.


The more times you try to quit, the better your chances of success. So, look on a relapse as ‘practice’ for stopping smoking.


Preventing relapse


Why is it that some smokers who quit fall off the wagon?


The main reason is giving in to cravings. These are powerful urges to smoke, often triggered by things such as stress or emotional events such as arguments. Nearly three quarters of all quitters who relapse do so in the presence of people who are smoking. 


Untreated cravings often result in lapses


If you can control your cravings for a cigarette, you’ll boost your chances of quitting. Most effective is a combination of behavioural changes and NRT/stop smoking medicines. This approach can double your chances of quitting successfully compared to willpower alone. 


Help for relapse


The risk of relapse is highest in the first few weeks after quitting. However, some people can relapse months or even years after stopping smoking.


Don't despair if you relapse. You can still avoid a full relapse. Remind yourself why you want to quit. Then take control again and continue with your quit attempt.


Make it hard to smoke. Avoid places where you can easily ask someone for a cigarette .. and don’t buy any. 


Stay strong. If you’re tempted to smoke, force yourself to wait two hours. Then decide if you really need a cigarette. 


Keep taking any prescribed stop smoking medication or NRT. It can help you get back on track if you’ve relapsed and are back to regular smoking.


Don’t become despondent. Set a new quit date .. perhaps for one week's time. 


Learn from your mistakes. What caused you to slip up? Think of ways you could have avoided smoking. Work on your coping skills so you’re prepared next time you’re in the same situation. Talk to your stop smoking advisor if you need more help to cope with cravings in your next quit attempt.


Stay positive. Remember, you’ll be stronger next time because you’ll know what to look out for.