Is it okay to smoke a little while quitting?

Andrea S. Wolf, MD
Vascular Surgery

Everybody is different. Some people just stop smoking and never look back. Others gradually reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke daily until they quit. Still others stop completely and occasionally smoke. The important thing to remember is that if you do smoke once after quitting, you haven’t failed. You can still quit and you don’t have to give up and go back to smoking.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If you are trying to quit smoking, it's best to make a clean break from tobacco. No sneaking a puff from a friend's cigarette or lighting up to cope with stress if you're having a bad day. You might also tell yourself that having a cigarette or two while you're trying to quit smoking will help you control withdrawal symptoms. But all you're doing is rationalizing the decision to keep smoking, which could lead to a relapse. You're more likely to succeed if you adopt a new attitude: I don't smoke. Period.
Some smokers have quit by abruptly stopping; others gradually decrease their use of cigarettes. Setting a definitive quit date and preparing for that day remain a helpful course to follow.
Irwin Isaacs
Sometimes it is helpful to gradually decrease the number of cigarettes each day, until you feel ready to stop completely.
Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine

I think you are just torturing yourself that you still have the desire to smoke if you have the occasional cigarette. The other option is is that when you start Chantix you can smoke for the first week you are on it, but the truth is you start decreasing anyway, but after that you are not to smoke at all. There is going to be painful moments and this is an activity you have done for many years, but the truth is that you really need to cut it out totally. I think every patient I see that says they are decreasing the amount, never quit smoking. You have to quit and either use a treatment modality or just quit cold turkey.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
No.  You can smoke a little and decrease your smoking rate while you are preparing to quit, but when you say "Today is my quit day" it should really be your quit day.  Throw away all your cigarettes, your ash trays, your lighters, etc., anything that reminds you of smoking.  Start walking 30 minutes everyday.  Get a pedometer, put it on, walk the 30 minutes, get a back-up pedometer so you never are without it, and use that as your crutch.  Use patches.  There is no harm in using nicotine to get you off, and it is really tough to quit without nicotine patches and your friends helping you quit.

Continue Learning about Smoking Treatment

New Info About Risks of Smoking Anything
New Info About Risks of Smoking Anything
We weren’t blowin’ smoke when we warned (over and over) about the health risks of smoking—anything! We know you want to kick the habit: Over 80 percen...
Read More
Are nicotine cravings during addiction recovery psychological or physical?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Nicotine cravings are a double-headed dragon. They are both physical and psychological. Smoking ...
More Answers
Does gender affect the ability to quit smoking?
Discovery HealthDiscovery Health
A study conducted in 2004 by the University of Ohio found that hypnosis is more effective on men who...
More Answers
Exercise Helps You Quit Smoking Faster
Exercise Helps You Quit Smoking Faster

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.