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Handling a Relapse after Quitting Smoking

Relapses are very common when you decide to quit smoking. It’s a hard habit to break. More than likely, you have smoked for a long time and you may have tried to quit in the past and failed. It’s common to go back to smoking, because you have done the same routine over and over again for all those years. It doesn’t matter if you are using the patch or chewing that gum, it’s inevitable that you may slip up from time to time and go back to smoking.

If you have a couple cigarettes, then a couple more and next thing you realize you have smoked a few cigarettes every day, you shouldn’t beat yourself up over this. You’re human. On average, a successful quitter relapses two to four times before finally succeeding. It’s okay. You just need to try harder next time.

That’s not saying that relapses are good. It’s just that it’s going to be hard to break this cycle of smoking. Most quitters will say that they were just having a bad day and needed a cigarette to calm down. Their boss is getting on their nerves and they can’t help but pick up a cigarette to calm their nerves. Their spouse is nagging at them, so they go back to smoking to relax. Those are just a few reasons why quitters slip up and relapse.

However, you need to get back on that horse as soon as possible. You set up another quit date within the next couple days or weeks. Before that date, you prepare that you are going to quit smoking for real this time. You need to tell yourself that you can do it.

And when that day comes, you again throw away all those cigarettes and lighters. You wear that patch, chew on that gum, use that spray or inhaler or even go cold turkey – whatever it takes for you to deal with those cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It may feel like they will last forever, but they will eventually lessen in intensity after a couple weeks.

Even after those first couple weeks, quitters may have a tendency to fall back into that vicious cycle. You need to do what you can to combat all those tough times. Within that first year, the relapse rates are still very high. Many studies have the rate of relapse around 60 to 90%.

You still need to push on to your goal of being smoke-free. Research has shown that it gets easier with time. On average, after two years of quitting, more than 80% of quitters achieve long-term success of being smoke-free. After those two years, studies show that quitters have a risk of relapse of two to four percent each year within the two to six years after quitting.

And one final thing to remember! Quitting smoking is tough and suffering a relapse can be harsh, but you can still do it. You just need to take it one day at a time.

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