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Smoking Relapse Prevention

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When you are successful in your plan to quit smoking, it feels great and invigorating. As the days go on and the cravings happen less often, some describe it as almost a euphoric moment. While successfully breaking your old habit is an amazing triumph, it’s important to realize that weeks, months and even years later, the urge could return again in certain situations. In some cases you may be able to fight off the cravings or perhaps you might experience a brief slip up. One important part of quitting is having a plan for the future. Do you know how you would handle it if you slipped up and had a cigarette? Can you be around your friends who still smoke and remain smoke free?

While the future presents many unknowns, it is often helpful to think about the “what-ifs” for planning a smokeless future. Here are a few tips for maintaining your smoke-free status.

What motivated you to quit smoking?
Many people find that keeping a list of the reasons they quit smoking is helpful when they are tempted to light up. If your children are a reason you quit, keep a photo with you and look at it when you are having trouble. There are many reasons that people quit, but if you have your personal reasons in a tangible form that you can look over when you are struggling, it may help you win the battle one craving at a time.

How will you deal with being around other smokers?
In the first week or two after quitting, depending on how strong the cravings are, it may be a wise idea to steer clear of other smokers as much as you can. Your friends should understand the fact that you will need space for a little while. Once more time passes, inevitably you will encounter smokers again, especially if they are your friends. You may find it helpful to have lollipops or other hard candies nearby so that the oral fixation part of the smoking habit can be satisfied without lighting up.

Can you identify the things that have triggered you to smoke in the past?
Identify the situations that prompted you to smoke in the past and come up with alternate ways to deal with these in the future. If it’s stress, why not take a walk? If it is boredom, pick up a book and read. Finding new and healthy ways to handle these situations will be very beneficial to you in the long run.

What is your plan for getting back on track?
Okay, so even the most perfectly thought out plan can fail. So if you find yourself in the beginning of a downward spiraling relapse, the most important thing to realize is that you aren’t a failure, everyone makes mistakes. No matter how long your relapse, you have the ability to get back on track.

Taking Chantix to help get you back on track
Many people find that incorporating a smoking cessation medication into the plan can provide vast amounts of relief. Chantix is one of the most popular medications of this kind. If you are not familiar with it, Chantix helps people who want to quit smoking by blocking the receptors in the brain that are responsible for the “ahhh” feeling so many smokers report feeling. Once you take away that, the desire to smoke begins to diminish. It’s simple -you pick a quit date, start taking Chantix one week prior to the date and then try to stop on your target date. If you can’t, you may need to take Chantix a little longer. The best part is that it is alright to smoke on Chantix so if you slip up, you can continue taking the medication and focus on a new quit date.

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