Start the Year by Stopping: Tips to Help You Quit Smoking

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If you're thinking about quitting smoking, take the first step this new year with simple guidelines following the letters in the word “START.” This word can help you set concrete goals that will make your resolution a success.

Set a Quit Date

The first step is to set a date in the next two weeks when you're going to quit. Some people choose a special day, like New Year's Day, their anniversary or their child's birthday. Keep the quit date close to when you first made your decision to quit. This way, you’ll keep your motivation high and have the steps you need to take planned out.

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Tell People

Tell your family, friends and coworkers that you plan to quit. Doing so will build your support network and help create accountability. It will be easier to fight cravings and any challenges that come up when the people you care about are encouraging and supporting you. One extra benefit from telling others could be learning from those who have quit smoking themselves. They can provide firsthand experience and tips that may give you an extra edge.

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Anticipate Challenges

The process of quitting smoking is difficult. Therefore, anticipate and plan for the challenges you'll face while quitting. One way to do this is to think about when you have cravings and what triggers them, and then take steps to remove those triggers. For example, if you're in the habit of smoking after lunch, try taking a brisk walk every day after lunch to create a new pattern for yourself.

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Remove Temptation

An important step, along with anticipating triggers, is to remove cigarettes and other tobacco products from your home, car and workspace. Be sure to clean thoroughly and don't leave any “hidden” stashes. By increasing the inconvenience to light up, you help keep yourself from giving in to cravings.

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Talk With Your Doctor or Nurse

Talk to your doctor or nurse about getting help. You are not the first person to seek advice about quitting smoking, and your medical professional will have lots of experience to help you. A doctor can give you advice on quitting, put you in touch with counselors and a support network, and provide medicines to reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms.

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