A â€˜lapseâ€™ is when a person has one or a few cigarettes while trying to stop. It is best to not have even a single puff while trying to stop, but many people do lapse on their way to successfully stopping. A lapse does not have to become a full relapse, or a return to regular smoking.
After a lapse, the best thing to do is try to quit again right away. The longer you wait, the harder it will become. Try this plan if you should happen to lapse:
1. STOP tobacco use immediately.
- Throw away all tobacco products.
- Call someone to help you get back on track.
- Change your surroundings.
- Go for a brisk walk.
- Think of all the reasons why you quit.
- Imagine yourself handling this moment without resorting to using tobacco.
- What happened that led up to the lapse?
- What was going on? Who were you with? Where were you?
- What were you doing? Feeling? Thinking?
3. RECOGNIZE the problem.
- Ask yourself how it felt to use tobacco again.
- Was it what you thought it would be? Did it help?
- Did it make you feel better or worse? Did it make the problem go away?
- Did you try any other ways to cope?
- How will you handle the situation next time?
5. DONâ€™T FEEL GUILTY. YOU ARE DEALING WITH AN ADDICTION.
- Learn from the lapse and let it go.
- People lapse. Donâ€™t let a lapse lead you to give up.
- Remember, you havenâ€™t failed until you stop trying.
You can do it!
If you feel the urge to smoke or have smoked there are some good tips on how to move forward at BecomeAnEX.org
Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org