Is it okay to have just one cigarette as a recovering smoker?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If it were okay to have just one cigarette, let's face it, quitting wouldn't be so hard. Your body and brain crave nicotine. That's why it takes most people more than six stabs before finally kicking the habit. Any time you give in to the urge, you make it that much harder to stop for good. When you're a recovering smoker, you need to avoid cigarettes completely. Even one little puff can cause you to relapse.
This depends on the individual. For some smokers, just having a single cigarette can lead to a relapse of smoking; for most smokers, abstaining from all cigarettes for longer than 3 months reduces the chances of a relapse.
Irwin Isaacs
No, because that can lead back into the addiction.
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine

No.  Because unfortunately if you are a true addict one cigarette can lead to you smoking full bore again.  I think that you don't want to trigger that addiction once you have fought through it.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

No.  That 1 cigarette will often cause you to have a life full of injury and have to quit again.  About a third of smokers are genetically addicted.  What we mean by that is that 1 cigarette will hook them for a long, long, time.  And by hook them for a long, long time, we mean they will be addicted again, as addicted as if they had a pack of cigarettes.  For the other two-thirds of smokers, they might be able to try one, but they might get addicted again.  It just is not genetically programmed into them.  So, the answer will be "no it is not okay to just have one.  That will addict you in a bad way again."  

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Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking

Smoking tobacco products can lead to severe health problems and even death. While quitting smoking can be very difficult for some smokers, there are smoking cessation programs and medications that can help smokers quit. There are ...

many lifelong benefits of doing so, like increased lung function and decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. Understanding the importance of quitting smoking and all options available to help stop smoking is key to long-term success.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.