Residential Quit Smoking Program:
Hazelden's Next-Step Smoking Cessation Retreat

The Next Step residential quit smoking program is a product of the Hazelden Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1949 to treat drug and alcohol addictions.  They have recently added the Next Step Smoking Cessation Retreat, located in Center City, Minnesota, to their list of offerings.  Their web site is here:


The Hazelden retreat is a one-week program that uses a 12-step, abstinence-based approach to 'nicotine recovery.'  The program includes one-on-one counseling, motivational speakers, group discussions, and relaxation techniques.  Massage, yoga, and acupuncture are also available on site to help deal with stress, and the program includes guidance on nutrition and fitness as well..  They prefer for participants to be completely nicotine-free when they leave, but will incorporate zyban or nicotine patches when necessary.

The 12-step approach is evident from their program objectives for participants, below: 

  • Become detoxified and experience seven days of tobacco abstinence in a supportive atmosphere in preparation for continuing abstinence.

  • Identify the addictive characteristics of tobacco use including specific ways in which they are powerless over the drug and examples of consequences they have experienced due to their use of tobacco.

  • Describe the progression of their addiction to tobacco.

  • Identify life areas needing to change in support of tobacco recovery.

  • Identify alternative strategies, other than tobacco use, for coping with life stresses.

  • Construct a plan for ongoing recovery and support.


The price for this program is a little lower than other residential quit smoking programs, which is to be expected since it is so new.  The exact cost ranges from about $3000 to $3700 depending on whether you choose a private or shared room. 


The residential quit smoking program at Hazelden is relatively new, so no effectiveness-rates are available.  However, the overall success rate for their existing substance recovery programs is about 54% for 12 months.  If this rate holds true for the tobacco recovery program, it would be in the same range as other residential quit smoking programs.


After successfully completing the program, participants are referred to local Nicotine Anonymous groups for follow-up.


A Typical Day at Hazelden's Next Step Residential Quit Smoking Program

[excerpted from Next Step's web site]

8 - 9 am - Breakfast with peers

9 - 10 am  - Acupuncture session

10 - 11 am - Yoga/relaxation

11 - 12 pm - Lectures on nicotine recovery

12 - 12:30 pm - Lunch with peers

12:30 - 1:30 pm - Free time

1:30 - 2:30 pm - Therapeutic group session

2:30 - 3:30 pm - Lecture on nicotine recovery

4:30 - 5:30 pm - Free time

5:30 - 6:15 pm - Dinner

6:15 - 6:45 pm - Group session/speaker

7:30 pm - Evening Free time

My Recommendations

While Hazelden appears to have a good record with substance recovery in general, their smoking cessation program is so new, it has no record of its own to stand on.  The 12-step abstinence-based approach may be comfortably familiar for people who've had a positive experience in Alcoholics Anonymous, but for others it may be a bit of a turn-off.

My top choice for a residential quit smoking program is St. Helena's in California, followed closely by the  Mayo program in Minnesota.  I'd give Hazelden's a little more time to establish their program procedures and success rates before I'd spend my money there.

If you feel that a residential program may be overkill for you at this time (or you simply don't have the time and money to invest right now), you could also consider one of the less expensive options such as quit smoking classes or  home study programs.