Beware of overconfidence
After a few weeks, you are doing well and feeling confident. That’s great, but don’t get overconfident! Most people still relapse even at this stage.
It’s normal to continue to get cravings in situations in which you used to smoke. Having ‘just one cigarette’ could mean starting all over again. Stay vigilant and aware of the risk.
Keep quick-acting NRT handy
Carry a quick-acting form of NRT (mouth spray, lozenge, gum, inhalator) with you at all times. If you are struck with an unexpected urge to smoke, a dose of quick acting nicotine can give relief. The mouth spray is the fastest acting product and starts to relieve cravings after 60 seconds. If possible, anticipate cravings and have a dose of nicotine 15-20 minutes beforehand.
Keep taking your medication
It is tempting to stop your medication when things are going well. Maybe you don’t need it any more. However, the medication is one of the reasons you are doing well and stopping it prematurely will reduce your chance of success. It will also give you protection against sudden and unexpected urges. Make sure you continue your medication for a full course, at least 8-12 weeks.
Beware of temptations
The common causes of relapse at this stage are:
- Stress or emotional upset
- Being around other smokers
It is vital to be aware of these triggers, to plan strategies to deal with them, or even to avoid them if necessary until you feel a little stronger. The main thing is to get back on track a soon as possible. Think of how far you have come. It would be such a shame to have to go through the whole quitting process again.
Don’t forget to keep yourself occupied and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Are you exercising more as planned? Exercising after you quit has been shown to reduce the risk of relapse. It also helps to reduce stress and control weight gain. Are you practising your stress-reduction strategies? Are you enjoying new smoke-free activities and interests which keep you occupied and stop you thinking about cigarettes?
Follow up visits to the Clinic
Research shows that smokers who continue to have regular visits to a smoking professional after quitting are far more likely to quit successfully. Clinic visits allow us to build motivation, reinforce the benefits of quitting, make medication checks and review ongoing strategies.
Last Modified: 04-12-2012