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.
When you quit smoking, it's important to be positive and really believe that you'll be successful.
You shouldn't expect to start smoking again. A slip-up should not mean that you will return to smoking the way you did before: it's an opportunity to learn a bit about yourself and what will help you to be more successful in the future.
If you do relapse, don't worry, it can take a few tries to quit smoking for good. It can be helpful to commit yourself to the "not a single drag" rule. Promise to yourself and others that you will not even have a single drag on a cigarette. By sticking to this simple rule you can guarantee that you won't start smoking again.
Why is it that some people who have stopped return to smoking?
The main reason is giving in to cravings. These are powerful urges to smoke, often triggered by stress, seeing other people smoking, getting drunk or emotional events such as arguments.
The best way to withstand cravings is a combination of stop smoking medicines and behavioural changes.
It's also important to stay away from people who smoke. Nearly three quarters of all people who relapse do so because they are with other people who are smoking – and this is usually after having asked one of them for a cigarette.
Get practical advice on how to relieve cravings.
The risk of relapse is highest in the first few weeks after stopping. However, some people can relapse several months, or even years, after stopping smoking.
Avoiding a relapse is best but, if you do give in to temptation, don't despair – really think about what went wrong and plan how you will deal with a similar situation in the future.
If you've had a cigarette or two:
If you've relapsed and are back to regular smoking:
Read the answers to common questions about stopping smoking, including:
If you stop smoking for 31 days, you're five times more likely to stop for good. This month, why not join the Stoptober quit smoking challenge.
You'll find all the support you need to quit, including:
Visit Stoptober now to choose the support to suit you.
If you prefer one-to-one support, that's available too from your local stop smoking service.
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.