Quit Victoria - Main Menu Quitline Logo

Recovering from slip-ups

A slip-up is a puff of a cigarette, or a cigarette or two, in the middle of your quit attempt. You haven’t relapsed to your old smoking rate but there’s a real risk that you might.

focus on the health benefits

It’s important not to use a slip-up as an excuse to go back to smoking.

A slip-up is a common part of quitting for most people. Treat it as a sign that you need to revise your quitting strategy. Try not to waste your energy on self-blame.

Getting back on track

The next 24hrs are critical. Here are some important steps to consider:

Learning from a slip-up

  • "I gave-in to constant, strong cravings or felt restless and irritable."
  • "The whole thing got too scary and difficult."
    • The first week is often the hardest to get through. Plan for low and high moods and stressful situations. If you get through you’ve gained a lot of skills. Keep at it. Knowing what to expect can really help (see managing nicotine withdrawal).
  • "I started to smoke without realising it."
    • Change your routine to minimise triggers and manage routines. Also, finding a good replacement for the cigarette can be helpful, e.g. chewing gum, stress ball, drink bottle, moisturiser.
  • "I was stressed out!"
    • Managing stress is a challenge. Deep breathe, walk, meditate, drink water, get a massage, be kind to yourself and use your savings to do something you enjoy.
  • "I slipped up when I had a few drinks."
    • Remember, if you’re over the drink-driving limit, you’re heading into risky territory. Consider changing your drinking habits for a time and plan ahead.
  • "I allowed myself to have one, and regretted it."
  • "I felt unable to say NO in the situation I was in."
    • Do you need to talk to smoking friends about the support you need?

Make sure you have a plan for these and other risky situations.

Get rid of your cigs

If you have any cigarettes on you or in easy reach, get rid of them. If you live with a smoker consider what changes you’d like to make to your home, or what conversations you’ll need to have, to minimise slip-ups. Or you might have gotten a cigarette off someone else. Over the next 24hrs try to avoid that scenario and other smokers.

Plan for the rest of the day, and tomorrow

As mentioned, the next 24hrs is pivotal to your goal of being quit for good and for your future. Your strategy will depend on your understanding of your smoking and your slip-up. Remember the 4Ds (delay, deep breath, drink water, do something else) and, depending on what has happened, get moving, change the scene and make sure you’ve got something to keep you busy for the rest of the day. Give Quitline a call and consider relaxation strategies. What will you do at the same time tomorrow?

But isn’t just one cig okay?

Thoughts like “just one will be okay” or “it'd be great to smoke just one-a-day or one-a-week” are warning signs. Ask yourself “Why wasn’t I smoking just one-a-day before?” Nicotine is very addictive. There is no safe level of smoking.

Building motivation

Sometimes a slip-up can be about losing sight of your reasons to quit. This is the time to reflect on your own personal reasons to quit and remind yourself why they are important.

Get a Quitline call 

If you’re doing it tough the Quitline can be a great support at this time. Quitline advisors know how difficult it is to quit and that slip-ups are a normal part of the quitting journey. They’re trained to listen and allow you to talk through where you’re at. Quitline can set up future call backs to help you get back on track in the coming weeks and months.

Get a Quitline Callback

Health tracker and cravings tips

Click on the blue numbers in the tool below to see health benefits and get tips for cravings. Have a play to see how your health with improve and how much money you'll save. See Staying Quit for more tips and advice...

 

Pre-Quit

Pre Quit

Your health Pre Quit

You're thinking about quitting. Take the next step by deciding why quitting is important to you and setting a quit date.

Pre Quit Tips

Write a list of the benefits of being a nonsmoker, and next to it the drawbacks. The more benefits you see the more ready you are to quit.

Average Savings

  • $ 0
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

Hours

1

Your health at 1 hour

Your heart rate and blood pressure start to drop.

Tips for 1 hour

Don't say: "That was my last cigarette" say "I'm not going to smoke today" and take it one day at a time.

Remember, you have to resist cravings or they won't go away. The more you resist, the weaker they will become. It’s hard, but they won't last forever.

Average Savings

  • $ 0
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

4

Your health at 4 hours

Once you've made the big decision to quit you'll be pleased to know the benefits start right away - like fresh breath!

Tips for 4 hours

Clear your home, car and workplace of things that remind you of smoking, such as ashtrays and lighters.

Average Savings

  • $ 0
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

8

Your health at 8 hours

Your heart rate has returned to normal, and your finger tips are warmer.

Tips for 8 hours

Since your smoking is supported by your normal routines, try changing your routines in small ways to help keep smoking out of your thoughts.

Average Savings

  • $ 0
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

12

Your health at 12 hours

Most of the nicotine is out of your blood. Great news as it’s the nicotine which fuels the addiction to smoking.

Tips for 12 hours

Plan ways to deal with any withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Walks, a hot bath or spa, gentle stretches, watching comedy, yoga and stress balls are just some ways to relax or loosen up.

Average Savings

  • $ 0
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

20

Your health at 20 hours

After quitting, food may seem more delicious and enticing. If so, choose low kilojoule sweets and stock up on whole fruits and healthy snacks.

Tips for 20 hours

Try to cut down on caffeinated drinks (e.g., coffee, cola) in the first few weeks, as the effects of caffeine increase without nicotine.

Average Savings

  • $ 0
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

Days

1

Your health at 1 day

Your blood’s carbon monoxide level has returned to normal. There's now more oxygen in your blood to help your organs function better.

Tips for 1 day

Tell any friends and family how they can best help you with your quit attempt. One easy way is for those who smoke to promise not to offer you any cigarettes.

Average Savings

  • $ 10
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

2

Your health at 2 days

By day two your hair and clothes will smell fresher.

Tips for 2 days

It's often a good idea to spend less time with smokers for the first few days of quitting, if you can. There's no need to face the biggest challenges just yet.

Average Savings

  • $ 20
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

3

Your health at 3 days

You may feel like you have more energy to get through your day.

Tips for 3 days

Buy healthy snacks like nuts (pistachios and shelled peanuts are good as they keep your hands busy), dried fruit, grapes, celery, and carrot sticks.

Average Savings

  • $ 30
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

4

Your health at 4 days

Disease fighting anti-oxidants are on the increase in your body, just because you've given up smoking.

Tips for 4 days

Many people say the first few days without cigarettes are the hardest. You've made it to day four! Reward yourself today with the money you've saved from not smoking!

Average Savings

  • $ 40
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

5

Your health at 5 days

Your liver and kidneys are cleansing your body of chemicals from cigarettes - every day their levels fall lower and lower.

Tips for 5 days

Put your cigarette money in a jar and save it to reward yourself by buying a new book, DVD or going out to dinner.

Average Savings

  • $ 50
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

Weeks

1

Your health at 1 week

Your lungs start to heal as cilia, the tiny hairs that clean your lungs, begin to recover from paralysing tobacco toxins.

Tips for 1 week

Practice saying, "No thanks, I don't smoke."

If you need to, keep your hands busy by fiddling with a pen or your mobile phone etc. It won’t be long until not having a cigarette in your hand feels natural.

Average Savings

  • $ 70
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

2

Your health at 2 weeks

Tobacco stains on your fingers are fading.

Tips for 2 weeks

Consider avoiding challenging situations where people will be smoking socially, particularly if there will also be alcohol around.

Average Savings

  • $ 140
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

4

Your health at 4 weeks

Harmful oxidizing chemicals in your lungs are decreasing. If you are affected by lung inflammation, your small airways are starting to open up, making breathing easier.

Tips for 4 weeks

Spend time with friends or family who don't smoke and feel proud that you're becoming a nonsmoker just like them.

Average Savings

  • $ 304
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

6

Your health at 6 weeks

Now you've been quit for six weeks your body is working better in ways you might not be aware of. It's getting better at healing cuts and wounds around this time.

Tips for 6 weeks

As thoughts about smoking become more rare, don't fall into the trap of over confidence. Be prepared for occasional thoughts to pop up unexpectedly.

Average Savings

  • $ 420
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

Months

2

Your health at 2 months

Say goodbye to smokers cough! Any coughing, mucus and wheezing you experienced while smoking will have eased so you may be coughing up less gunk in the morning.

Tips for 2 months

Some smokers have trouble letting go if smoking is part of their rebellious streak. If that's you, what are smarter ways you can express that part of yourself?

Average Savings

  • $ 608
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

3

Your health at 3 months

Your lungs are really on the mend, becoming better at removing mucus, tar and dust. With 80% of lung cancer being a result of smoking, this is great news!

Tips for 3 months

Ex-smokers like yourself report that their quality of life is better after they quit and it improves further the longer they are quit.

Average Savings

  • $ 913
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

4

Your health at 4 months

Your circulation has improved and your good cholesterol levels are up. Your blood is less thick and sticky, reducing your risk of harmful clots.

Tips for 4 months

Now that you are quit, you're likely to get sick less often, and experience less severe symptoms when you do.

Average Savings

  • $ 913
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

6

Your health at 6 months

Feeling good? Stress levels are usually lower at around six months than they would be if you were still smoking.

Tips for 6 months

Going through a period of grief and loss on the way to becoming a nonsmoker is normal. Remember everything you've gained is worth it. Missing smoking at times is a normal part of letting go for good.

Average Savings

  • $ 1825
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

9

Your health at 9 months

Your immune system is improving and should start getting better at fighting off colds and flu. You're likely to be coughing less now.

Tips for 9 months

Take time to work out how many thousands of dollars you've saved - and what you will reward yourself with for your big milestone!

Average Savings

  • $ 2744
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

Years

1

Your health at 1 year

Relax, your blood pressure is back to normal.

Tips for 1 year

Keep reminding yourself of all the good reasons you have to be a nonsmoker. Review your list and update it if necessary. Let yourself feel proud of your great acheivement!

Average Savings

  • $ 3650
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

5

Your health at 5 years

Within just two to five years, you've achieved a large drop in your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Tips for 5 years

Remind yourself of all the stresses you've coped with since you quit. Feel comfortable konwing you can manage anything life throws at you without ever needing to reach for a cigarette again.

Average Savings

  • $ 18250
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

10

Your health at 10 years

Your risk of cancer is markedly lower than that of a continuing smoker! Less cancer risk means more time to enjoy the good things in life.

Tips for 10 years

Now you've very likely achieved getting smoking out of your life for good, imagine what else you can achieve!

Average Savings

  • $ 36500
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

15

Your health at 15 years

Your heart and brain will thank you as your risk of heart attack and stroke is close to that of a nonsmoker.

Tips for 15 years

If you're in the majority of ex-smokers who have been quit this long, you'll be enjoying feeling healthier as a result of your great efforts - enjoy the ongoing rewards!

Average Savings

  • $ 54750
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month

20

Your health at 20 years

"Smoker? Not me!" Your risk of loss of sight from age-related macular degeneration is the same as someone who has never smoked.

Congratulations!

There are now more Australians who have quit smoking than there are who still smoke - and you're one of the healthier, happier majority!

Your acheivement of staying a nonsmoker is significant, and likely an inspiration to those around you that quitting for good is possible - congratulations!

Average Savings

  • $ 73000
  • $70.00 p/week
  • $304.00 p/month
Calculate your actual costs

 

Real life stories

Best decision

I was an addict from 16 to 46 and I was sick and tired of the addiction, plus cost.I gave up after 3 weeks on champix, which worked, but did my head in. I went to a hypnotherapist and after one...

Read more of this story ›