1. 20 minutes: heart rate and blood pressure drop
  2. 12 hours: carbon monoxide level in the blood returns to normal
  3. 2 weeks to 3 months: circulation improves and lung function increases
  4. 1-9 months: coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia(small hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce the risk of infection
  5. 1 year: the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s
  6. 5 years: stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker in 5-15 years
  7. 10 years: the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s. Risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix and pancreas decrease also
  8. 15 years: the risk of coronary artery disease is the same as a non-smoker


Plan ahead and understand it will be difficult.

  1. Write down reasons to quit.
  2. Set a date to quit and tell friends, family and co-workers, so they can be supportive.
  3. On your quit date get rid of all tobacco and ashtrays.
  4. Quit together with a friend.
  5. Don’t let anyone smoke in your home.
  6.  In addition to the patch and gum, there are nasals sprays, inhalers and pills that can help, and they are covered by many insurance plans. Ask your doctor or dentist.
  7. Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine and smoking situations.
  8. Eat well and exercise.

What to do when cravings strike.

  1. Withdrawal usually takes about a month, so be prepared. The cravings will come, that’s what addiction is.
  2. Always keep healthful snacks, carrots, celery, nuts, apples etc. with you.
  3. Chew gum or use mints or suckers.
  4. If you are at home, do a chore or take a shower.
  5. Cravings seldom last more than 5 or 10 minutes.
  6. Deep breathing can help. It can simulate smoking, so try 10 slow, deep breaths in and out.
  7. Call a friend for support.
  8. Animals help relieve stress and anxiety. Spend time with your pet or consider getting a pet.
  9. Call 1-800- QUIT NOW.

Remember, you used tobacco to help relieve stressful situations, so those same situations may seem even more stressful at first. It’s not safe to have even one puff. You have broken free from the tobacco nicotine addiction industry, don’t become their slave again!

If you do slip, quit again now! Many people have to try 5 or 6 times before they are successful. Don’t give up on yourself. Your life has value! Be healthy and be free!