Tips on How to Avoid Smoking Relapse (And What to Do If It Happens)
Congratulations, you've quit smoking! I'm not writing this article to lecture you or explain how bad it is for your health as well as the people and pets you live with. Everyone knows by now what smoking does and how it affects everyone's health. I am only writing this to make you stop and think before you pick up another cigarette and to share with you how I am coping in hopes that it will help someone else from relapsing.
Don't Light That Cigarette
So you've quit smoking but that urge is still there. You think to yourself, just a few drags won't hurt me, after all, it's been three days, three weeks, three months or maybe even three years. I can handle it.
Stop right there. Think about why you quit. Think about how darn proud you are of yourself for quitting this addiction. Think of how strong you are for being able to finally give up the habit. All it takes is one drag, and you'll be lured back into that smoky pit of no return.
Do not...I repeat...do not give in to that nagging urge to light up. You may think you can handle just a few drags but trust me, you will regret it. I know, I've been there. I had quit for an entire year and one day felt that I really, really needed a smoke. I gave in, lit up and three years later I quit again. Even though it's only been two months, I know if I ever have that one drag, I'll be back at it, smoking a pack a day.
Make a List of Why You Quit Smoking
If you've already made a list of why you wanted to quit smoking, take it out and have a look. If you didn't make one, grab a piece of paper and list all the reasons why you quit. Your reasons may be different than mine, but I'll share my list with you. Chances are our reasons are very similar, if not the same. Add a second column to the list and write out how quitting has made a difference in your life.
Reasons to Quit Smoking
Three Weeks After Giving Up Cigarettes
I am tired of coughing and hacking all the time.
The coughing has stopped.
I cannot walk up the street without getting out of breath.
I can walk farther without getting out of breath.
I cannot laugh without hacking.
I can laugh again and not cough.
The cost of cigarettes is getting ridiculous.
Smoking cost 84.00/week and increasing all the time Nicorette gum 40.00.
Every time I go somewhere I have to excuse myself to go outside to have a smoke.
Being around non-smokers has become a treat.
Tired of having to run to the store everytime I run out of smokes
So many less trips to the convenience stores.
Cannot make it through a movie at the Cineplex without having a nicotine fit.
I can now sit and enjoy an entire movie and no need to leave the theatre half way through for a smoke break.
I want the house, my hair and my clothing to smell better.
How to Reduce the Risk of Relapsing
The following is a list of tips that work for me and hopefully will help you too.
- Make sure that you don't have any dirty ashtrays kicking around the house. Get rid of them.
- Make it a rule that there will be no smoking in your home by anyone and stick to your guns.
- My husband and I quit at the same time which can be very helpful. If one of us is having a hard day and an urge to smoke, we call the other person and in turn talk them out of lighting up. Teaming up with a friend that has just quit can work the same way.
- I used to drink coffee all day long and light a cigarette to go along with the coffee. Rather than drink coffee now, I've switched to green tea, and for some reason, the tea does not make me think of cigarettes.
- Go to places that are smoke-free such as libraries, restaurants, visit a sick friend in the hospital, go to a movie theatre. Just about every public place where I live is smoke-free, which helps immensely.
- If drinking alcohol makes you want to smoke, avoid drinking.
- Tell people that you've quit smoking. You'll find you have a huge support system.
What to Do When You're About to Smoke Again
- Get up and go for a walk. It's a good way to get in more exercise too.
- Walk into the kitchen and grab a small snack. Make it healthy though as weight gain tends to happen when you quit smoking.
- Chew gum, suck on sugarless candy or eat celery sticks.
- Grab a bottle of water.
- Avoid people that smoke until you feel you can be around smokers and not have it bother you.
- Clean the house.
- Go cut the lawn or tend to your garden, if you have one.
- Do things that normally when you smoked you couldn't smoke while doing them.
What If I Relapse?
- Set a quit date.
- Rewrite or make a new list.
- Decide if you want to quit cold turkey or if you are going to try a quit-smoking aid.
- Never give up trying to quit.
My dad smoked three packs a day. He started smoking when he was 20 and smoked until he retired. He had tried several times during his life to quit. Then one day he said, "I can't afford this anymore". He finally quit for good.
I've smoked most of my adult life, and this is the second time that I've been serious about quitting. I am determined to never smoke again.
Treatments to Help You Along the Way
- Nicorette: Offers a wide product range of products to aid you in quitting smoking and to help you handle those nicotine cravings along the way. All of the following can be purchased without a prescription: gum, patches, lozenges, inhaler, and mouth spray. Before starting with any of these products, be sure to check with your doctor.
- Zyban and Chantix: These are two medication pills available through a prescription from your doctor that may help you quit smoking. Many people have had success with these. Be sure to ask your doctor about the side effects of these drugs before taking them.
- Counseling or quit-smoking hotline: This may be another option for you to consider.
- There are many online support groups that you can join for free.
- Get in touch with your local cancer society for help.
- Some people have found hypnosis or laser therapy the best route to go.
- Others have used acupuncture.
Do you or have you ever smoked?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 Susan Zutautas