You Haven’t Failed at Quitting – You Just Haven’t Finished the Process

Most people have to try several times before they finally quit for good.

If you are like most people, quitting is a process — not an event. You should feel proud that you are trying again! Tobacco is way more than a bad habit — it’s a powerful addiction. So the quitting process takes time. Don’t be discouraged if you have tried to quit before. That puts you in good company.


It’s common for people to try to quit five to seven times before they finally quit for good.1


Quitting is a bear (as you know). Between the nicotine cravings and the stress of daily life, it’s easy to slip back into old routines. But there is some good news. Learning from past quit attempts can help you be more successful this time.

Quit With Help

A lot of people try to quit without any support, or cold turkey. But the truth is you are way more likely to quit for good if you get support, including counseling and quit medication.

Colorado QuitLine offers free coaching over the phone and medications to help you quit for good.

Visit the Quitline.

Build Your Willpower

It’s not gone, you just need to build it up again.

If you hesitate to step outside for a smoke or pause before you reach for a cigarette, that means you still have willpower. Every time you try to quit, you learn something about yourself and your smoking. You’re stronger now than ever before.

Here are some tips to help you build willpower:

  1. Learn from the past. Think about when you tried to quit before. What worked? When did you feel the strongest urges to smoke? What could you do differently this time? You’re the expert.
  2. Pick a quit date and prepare. Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit. Tell your friends and family about your plan to quit and ask for their support.
  3. Find a quit buddy. Whether it’s counseling through the QuitLine or making the decision to quit with a friend, going through the quit experience with someone can help you be successful.
  4. Get help from a proven quit resource. People who get help are more likely to quit for good. The Colorado QuitLine has free quit medications to help control cravings.
  5. Medication can help. The FDA has approved seven medications like nicotine patches or gum that help people quit by controlling cravings.

Cope With Stress

Quitting adds extra stress to your already stressful life. That’s a big part of why quitting is so hard.

But you can do this! Just take it one tobacco-free day (or hour) at a time. If you didn’t smoke for a whole day, or smoked two less cigarettes in a day – that’s a win worth celebrating. Be patient with yourself and build on small successes. If you were able to smoke less yesterday, can you wait until after work to smoke today? Can you skip smoking altogether tomorrow?


1. Estimating the Number of Quit Attempts it Takes to Quit Smoking Successfully in a Longitudinal Cohort of Smokers, Chaiton, et. al, 2016. Retrieved from: