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Avoiding relapses

Did you give in to temptation? Remember that guilt and beating yourself up will not help you overcome this setback. If you’ve had a cigarette, keep in mind that it’s only one slip in an entire journey. Try to understand why it happened. These questions can help:

  • What event or situation led me to smoke again?
  • Is someone encouraging me to smoke?
  • What need was I trying to fill when I lit that cigarette?
  • What could I have done to avoid this slip?

Ironically, it’s both during good times and bad that your brain will try to get you to smoke. For example:

  • When you are stressed, tired or sad
  • When you are bored
  • When you are with a smoker who encourages you to smoke (even if it’s only one drag)
  • On happy occasions (birthdays, weddings, visits with friends, travel, etc.)

It’s perfectly normal to have cigarette cravings. Regain control of the situation by reminding yourself of your reasons for quitting and start using your personalized strategies again.  

Here is more advice on ways to avoid a relapse:

  • Make a commitment to yourself to never touch nicotine again. Otherwise, your risk will be high for a relapse within hours, days or weeks of quitting.
  • Avoid people who encourage you to smoke or ask them to respect your decision to quit.
  • Be mindful of your “high-risk” situations and times (e.g. when you have a drink).
  • Be prepared for those moments when you feel more vulnerable. Decide in advance what you will do to control your craving.
  • When you experience a craving, it means your brain wants dopamine right now. Do what it asks by giving it something else that’s pleasurable (walk the dog, drink a refreshing glass of lemonade, eat your favourite healthy snack, etc.).


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The Website deals with health-related topics. The information presented has been validated by experts and is accurate at the time of posting. In no way does it replace the opinion of a health care professional. Uniprix Inc. and its affiliated pharmacists accept no liability whatsoever in connection with the information provided on this Website.