Six Tips for Dealing with a Lapse

Blog Post created by dr_hays on Jun 12, 2015

People often feel they can stop smoking - they’ve done that beforeIt’s the staying stopped that is the difficult part.  Thus, many are concerned about having a lapse (smoking a cigarette or two), or even worse – a relapse (going back to a regular pattern of smoking).


If you are able to “catch” yourself after a lapse, you can probably recover quickly if you follow these steps:

1.      Stop using tobacco right away, and throw away all tobacco products and paraphernalia (lighters, ashtrays, etc.)

2.      Call or contact your support people (family, friends, or co-workers who are supportive of your quitting).

3.      Call your healthcare professional and if you have seen a counselor or Tobacco Treatment Specialist, call that professional.

4.      If possible, change your environment and go to a smoke-free place, or one you do not associate with smoking.

5.      Get active – a brisk walk or a few minutes on a treadmill will activate the endorphins (those natural opiates in the brain).  This is similar to that “feeling good” response that many associate with smoking.

6.      Think about all the reasons you are trying to quit in the first place (health, family, children, grandchildren, money, etc.)


It’s also important to look at what led to the lapse:  what you were doing, who you were with, and how you were feeling.  Was tobacco helpful in coping with that situation/problem, or did it make it worse?  Did you try other ways to cope with this same situation/problem?

Finally, decide on how you will deal with this situation/problem the next time it arises, and then take this as learning opportunity for yourself, as you learn to live tobacco-free.