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How to handle occasional slip ups

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Slipping up during your journey is ok. If it happens, don't beat yourself up. There are lots of ways you can get back on track.

It's just a delay on your journey

Whether you've had one or two cigarettes or even started smoking again, don't be too hard on yourself. Many ex-smokers tried to give up several times before they succeeded, so there's no need to worry.

A slip-up here and there does not mean you've failed. Just keep going and you can still reach your goal. Read on for some action plans.

A Little Slip-up - one or two cigarettes

  • Your attempt to quit isn't over
  • Admit you've slipped up and forgive yourself
  • Get rid of your cigarettes and lighter or matches
  • Try to remove yourself from the situation that led you to smoke
  • Think about what tempted you, so you can avoid that thing in the future
  • Develop a plan to deal with tricky situations such as parties and coffee breaks
  • Seek support from friends, family or colleagues

Most importantly, congratulate yourself on the dozens of cigarettes you haven't smoked since you quit rather than dwelling on the one or two you have just smoked. Every cigarette you don't smoke is a little win, and eventually they will add up to the big win of being smoke-free for good.

A Medium Slip-up - a few cigarettes in one session

  • Your attempt to quit isn't over
  • Admit you've slipped up and forgive yourself
  • Think about what made you do it, and if it was triggered by a habit such as going to the pub or responding to a stressful situation
  • Mentally rehearse how you'll deal with that situation next time
  • Learn from the experience rather than feeling bad, which will make you less likely to slip up again
  • Try a simple breathing exercise to keep yourself calm.
  • Seek support from friends, family, colleagues and Nicabate

If you've been using a nicotine replacement therapy such as Nicabate, check that you're using the right strength and are following the directions for use. Gum and Minis could help get you through tricky situations in the future.

A Big Slip-up - falling back into your old habit

  • Take a little time to think about what's happened and why
  • Remind yourself how you've avoided temptation in the past, and think about how it compares with the situation that led you to slip up
  • Have a think about the best way to quit for you, which may be something you haven't tried yet
  • When you're sure you're committed to quitting again, choose a new quit date
  • Get ready for giving up again and remind yourself of your motivations to quit
  • Seek support from friends, family, colleagues and Nicabate

It's a good idea to write down any positive lessons you have learnt from your slip-up, and keep them in mind running up to your next quit date. This is also the time to remind yourself of all the really good reasons you want to give up smoking.

Good luck!