Even just one cigarette can lead to a derailed quit attempt.
We recently wrote about how to get back on track with your commitment to a smokefree life after a slip-up. That’s because a slip-up can lead to picking up the smoking habit again if you’re not careful. But slip-ups often occur because people think that “just one” cigarette won’t hurt. That mentality is a very slippery slope as just one cigarette can lead to another cigarette and then eventually a whole pack. In fact, research has shown that nine out of 10 former smokers who smoke one cigarette after quitting end up relapsing and returning to smoking again. Sure, you might be that one person out of 10 who won’t let that just one cigarette derail your quit, but is it worth the risk of smoking again just for that one time?
If you’re on the verge of smoking “just one,” try avoiding cigarettes with one (or a few!) of these ideas:
- Find a smoking mantra. Many ex-smokers recite and repeat to themselves whenever they have a craving: “Not one puff, ever” or “N.O.P.E.” When it’s said loudly, quietly, or even in one’s head, a mantra can help you refocus and center your mind and provide motivation to stick to your intentions. Say “N.O.P.E.” or come up with your own smoking mantra!
- Treat smoking as what it is: an addiction. Just like recovering drug and alcohol users shouldn’t ever use or drink again, you shouldn’t ever smoke again. You can remind yourself of all the negative health effects from cigarettes, even from what just one cigarette can cause.
- Come up with another way to deal with the craving. Think about the trigger for your craving and come up with a different, healthy solution to overcoming it. Was it because you are really stressed? Take a walk outside or meditate for five minutes. Was it because you’re at a party and others are smoking around you? Find a non-smoker to talk to or call a friend for support.
- Remind yourself of the reasons you quit. Is it because you’re trying to get healthier? Are you doing it for your family and friends? Hate smelling like cigarette smoke? Take some time to revisit why you quit.
Keep the nicotine out of your system and don’t give in to even “just one” cigarette.
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