Smoking relapse happens often...learn from it and succeed

Relapse rates, statistics, prevention and what to do when it happens



Smoking relapse is common in people who are trying to quit smoking. Smoking relapse simply refers to starting again to smoke after quitting.

Are you reading this and you have relapsed? Not to worry. Relapses are a normal part of quitting smoking. On average,many people have a relapse encounter five or six times before quitting for good. It's simply the pattern. Take it as part of the quitting process, though undesirable, but can be expected.

Relapses can come at any moment and have various causes.I will talk about the causes in a short while. For now I will continue giving some background information in the next few lines on smoking relapses. I will then talk about their primary causes.

Finally it will be what-to-do-talk so you can both come out of a smoking relapse and keep out of it going forward. To make things easier to remember for everyone, I will then give a take home summary.

Smoking relapses are concentrated in the first 24 hours of quitting then spread out to seven, fourteen,and thirty days after quitting. They become very thinly spread and much less common at six months after quitting decreasing even further at one year, two years, five years and 11 years of not taking tobacco.

smoking relapses are commonIf the truth be told, quitting is never easy. It requires attention, effort and practice. Being critical of yourself is never helpful when trying to quit. Take it easy on yourself and think of any relapse as an opportunity to learn.

You may ask how and why does relapses occur. Well keeping in mind that it's normal for those who are trying to quit smoking to relapse lets answer the question.Most people who are trying to smoke suffer from self pity.

They feel pity that so and so is still smoking yet they no longer can. Remember why you are quitting. It's an undesirable thing to smoke. You are not trying to walk away from a good thing.

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In fact statistics tell the story that up to 70% of smokers actually want to quit. So no self pity is necessary. Second, smoking relapse occurs because people are over confident. Don't set yourself up for a relapse by putting rigid expectations.

If you are still craving for cigarettes one or two months later it doesn't mean you have failed. Go easy on yourself and take your time.Remember each day that passes is a solid building block to a more secure smoke-free future.

Self-criticism is a major contributing factor to a smoking relapse. "I can't make it, it's not for me". Avoid being your own critic. Many others looking from outside actually think you are great. Consider that 70% of people who smoke actually wish they could quit even if they don't say it.

Speaking positive thoughts to yourself is critical. Constantly bombard your mind with positive thinking about what you are doing. Just try it for a week and see.

Blaming others is retrogressive. It can't be someone's influence for you to fail. If they smoke avoid them and choose other activities rather than hanging out with them. There is always a way to keep going.

What Lessons can be learned from a relapse?

Never keep focusing on a relapse. Your focus should rather be on what you can do differently to get good success by quitting for good.

The circumstances surrounding the smoking relapse should be considered to identify;

  • Why you smoked
  • What triggers caused you to light up
  • What situations caused you to want to smoke
  • How to be better prepared to turn down cigarettes

This information is great ammunition for another smoking relapse combat. Develop a better plan with this information to prevent another relapse.

What can be done when you relapse?

You must stop yourself as soon as possible and regain control. Immediately take action to destroy or throw away any cigarettes to help deal with any further enticement. This helps because naturally your will power becomes week after a relapse.

Revisit your initial reasons why you quit in the first place. This will help you regroup and strengthen your resolve to continue with your decision to quit.

When ready set yet another date for quitting. Identify and deal with any other issues that might be surrounding your quitting difficulties. Above all give yourself a pat on the back for trying again.

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Avoiding further relapses is equally important

Experience shows that very few smoking relapses occur due to physical withdrawal symptoms. Relapses are usually triggered by cravings such as;

  • Past pleasant cigarette smoking memories
  • Passing by or through places that you formerly used to smoke
  • Great stress
  • As we have talked about above, self pity, irritability, anxiety or depression

How to make use of HALT, NOPE and the Five D's

There are high risk triggers that lead to cravings that ultimately can walk you the path of smoking relapse. These high risk triggers can be identified as Hunger,Anger,Loneliness and Tiredness - HART. Easy to remember, but these are common relapse moments.

Ensure that you satisfy these needs regularly. Eating might result in weight gain. See quitting smoking and weight gain.

NOPE is an acronym that has been developed overtime by people who are trying to quit smoking and is gaining usage momentum.NOPE simply means Not One Puff Ever. Use it if it can help you when on starting off quitting or after a relapse.

The Five D's stands for;

  • Delay
  • Drink Water
  • Do Something
  • Deep Breathe
  • Discuss With A Friend

Take these well proven effective tools and make them yours. Let them walk the talk.

Arriving at a place of finally being tobacco-free is a life long process.There are many challenging things to learn about life and quitting. You are destined to win. Know yourself and plan well.

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You may be interested to read more on after you quit smoking.

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