Not Ready to Quit? Consider Taking a Break!

If quitting tobacco seems like too much right now, consider taking a break or a vacation from tobacco use.

This can help you feel better by restoring balance*.

  • Set a goal to stop using tobacco.
  • Talk with your doctor for resources or ways to cope with withdrawal symptoms.

If this goes well, maybe you will take more breaks during the year. This could lead to a tobacco-free life!

*Follow your doctor’s directions for medicine, exercise, diet and other activities.

Quitting tobacco use

Benefits of quitting

  • Your body responds quickly to quitting:
    • 8 hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. The oxygen level in your blood increases to normal.
    • 24 hours: Your chance of heart attack decreases.
    • 48 hours: Nerve endings start to grow again.
    • 2 weeks: Circulation to your hands and feet improve. Your ability to exercise improves. According to the American Lung Association, your lung function may increase up to 30 percent.
  • There are many health benefits to quitting. Quitting:
    • lowers your chances of stroke, heart disease and nerve damage
    • may lower your blood pressure
    • lowers your risks of many types of cancers

Suggestions for quitting tobacco

Studies show that the most successful way to quit uses counseling, medicines and follow-up. Ask your health care provider for more information.

  • Prepare to stop.
    • Get support from family and friends.
    • Avoid places where you know you will want to use tobacco.
    • Plan activities to replace using tobacco.
  • Choose a day to stop.
    • Get rid of cigarettes, ashtrays and lighters.
  • Stop.
    • Stop on the day you planned to stop.
    • Be careful with situations or activities in which you might be tempted to start start using tobacco again.
    • Try to keep your focus on today, not the future. Tell yourself, "I am not smoking today."
  • Stay stopped.
    • Think positive thoughts. Remember why you decided to stop. Reward yourself.
    • Remember that your craving will pass whether you smoke or not.
    • Do not play games like telling yourself, "One cigarette won't hurt," "I deserve a dip or chew," "I just want to see how a cigarette tastes." Your brain might tell you these things to persuade you to go back to tobacco.

Resources for quitting

  • Tobacco Intervention Program at Abbott Northwestern Hospital
    • 612-863-1648
  • Tobacco Intervention Program at Mercy Hospital
    • 763-236-8008
  • Penny George™ Institute for Health and Healing (LiveWell Center) tobacco intervention coaching
    • 612-863-5178
  • Tobacco Intervention Program at River Falls Area Hospital:
    • 715-307-6075
  • Allina Health United Lung and Sleep Clinic Tobacco Cessation Program
    • 651-726-6200
  • QUITPLAN® (Minnesota)
  • Quit Smoking Hotline (all other states)
    • 1-800-QUIT-NOW
  • online tobacco cessation support
  • American Lung Association
  • Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center's Residential Treatment Program
    • 1-800-344-5984 or 1-507-266-1930
  • Chantix® GetQuit Support plan
  • financial aid for Chantix® or Nicotrol® inhaler
  • To buy aromatherapy
    • Plant Extracts 1-877-999-4236

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Heart Failure, fifth edition, 1-931876-31-2
First Published: 10/04/2002
Last Reviewed: 12/10/2015