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.

Quit tobacco product use

If you smoke, your goal is to quit smoking. The benefits of quitting happen right away and continue many years later: 

  • 8 hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal and the oxygen level in your blood increases to normal.
  • 24 hours: Your chance of a heart attack decreases.
  • 48 hours: Nerve endings start to grow again; your senses of smell and taste improve.
  • 2 weeks: Circulation to your hands and feet improve; your ability to exercise is increased; your lung function increases up to 30 percent.
  • 2-4 weeks: Your risk of problems with your incision site healing decreases.
  • 1-9 months: Your cough, stuffy nose, and shortness of breath decrease; your energy level increases.
  • 1 year: Your chance of heart disease is cut in half.
  • 5 years: Your chance of a stroke is the same as a nonsmoker; your chance of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.
  • 10 years: Your risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease is the same as a nonsmoker's risk.

Preparing to quit

  • Make a pact with yourself to quit.
  • Pick a date for quitting.
  • Write down your three most important reasons for quitting on a card. Carry the card with you or post it on the refrigerator and look at it several times a day.
  • Start reducing your smoking. Don't allow yourself to smoke in certain places.
  • Visualize yourself as a nonsmoker.
  • Plan your reward for each day you don't smoke.

Actually quitting

  • Get rid of all cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
  • Throw away your ashtrays.
  • Don't allow smoking in your home—if other family members want to smoke, ask them to go outside.
  • Avoid "high risk" situations: bars, parties and smoking environments.
  • Think positively. Believe you can quit and don't make a big deal of it.
  • Take it one day at a time. If you fall off the wagon, climb back on! Remember that even the most intense craving lasts only five to 10 wait it out!

Quitting aids

Talk with your health care provider about which way(s) to quit may help you the most.

  • Over-the-counter products include nicotine gum, nicotine lozenge (Commit™), and the nicotine patch (Nicoderm® and Nicotrol®).
  • Prescription products include Zyban®, nicotine nasal spray, nicotine inhaler, and the nicotine patch (Habitrol® and Prostep®).

Other ways to quit include hypnosis, acupuncture, delaying the first cigarette of the day, cutting down and quitting cold turkey.

Need help?

Talk with your health care provider about your best treatment options. You can also check with your insurance provider about quitting programs that may be available to you.

For information about smoking cessation programs, call Allina Health Class Registration at 1-866-904-9962.

QuitPlan (Minnesota)
1-888-354-PLAN (7526)
1-877-266-3863 (Spanish)

Minnesota Tobacco Helpline
1-877-QUITNOW (784-8669)
1-877-270-STOP (7867)
1-877-266-3863 (Spanish)

Wisconsin Tobacco Helpline
1-877-270-STOP (7867)
1-877-2NO-FUME (Spanish)

National Cancer Institute
1-800-4CANCER (422-6237)

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Preparing for Your Hysterectomy, gyn-ah-95582
Reviewed By: Allina Health Patient Education experts
First Published: 04/25/2013
Last Reviewed: 11/30/2015