Remember the quotation by Mark Twain on the previous page? Maybe you, too, have quit many times before. So you know that staying quit is the final, and most important, stage of the process. You can use the same methods to stay quit as you did to help you through withdrawal. Think ahead to those times when you may be tempted to smoke, and plan on how you will use alternatives and activities to cop with these situations.

More dangerous, perhaps, are the unexpected strong desire to smoke that occur sometimes months (or even years) after you’ve quit. To get through these without relapse, try the following:

  • Review your reasons for quitting and think of all the benefits to your health, your finances, and
    your family.
  • Remind yourself that there is no such thing as just one cigarette – or even one puff.
  • Ride out the desire to smoke. It will go away, but do not fool yourself into thinking you can have just one.
  • Avoid alcohol. Drinking lowers your chance of success.
  • If you are worried about gaining weight, put some energy into eating a healthy diet and staying active with exercise.

What if you do smoke?

The difference between a slip and a relapse is within your control. You can use the slip as an excuse to go back to smoking, or you can look at what went wrong and renew your commitment to staying off smoking for good.

Even if you do relapse, try not to get too discouraged. Very few people are able to quit for good on the first attempt. In fact, it takes most people several attempts before quitting for good. What’s important is figuring out what helped you in your attempt to quit and what worked against you. You can then use this information to make a stronger attempt at quitting the next time.