More than 70 percent of all smokers want to quit, according to the U.S. government, but sometimes it takes more than mere resolve. Smoking is one of the hardest bad habits to correct, largely because nicotine is so addictive. Below are 10 tips to help you realize your 2015 New Year's Eve resolution and finally give up cigarettes.
1. Stop smoking. Quitting cold turkey might sound impossible, but it's as good a strategy as any, mostly because the health benefits are immediate. "As soon as you quit, your body begins to repair the damage caused by smoking," according to the American Lung Association.
2. Write down all your reasons for quitting. Perhaps your bad habit has become too expensive. Maybe you're worried about setting a bad example for your children. Whatever the reason, write it down and frequent this list when you start to feel cravings.
3. Let your friends and family know about your plan. It's important to have a support system when the addiction feels like it is winning. Tell them why you want to quit and how they can help you quit. Be specific, according to smokefree.gov.
4. Throw out anything that reminds you of smoking. Ashtrays, lighters, matches, friends that blow smoke in your face -- they all have to go.
5. Make your home a safe haven. Don't let anyone smoke in your house, no matter what.
6. Give yourself a fact check. When the urge to smoke gets too strong, remind yourself of the facts: Smoking is the top cause of preventable death in the U.S., with more than 393,000 deaths per year. Smokers die on average 13 years earlier than nonsmokers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
7. Seek professional help if necessary. A few options include: SmokefreeTXT, a mobile text messaging service for people trying to quit; Quitlines, a hotline with quit smoking counselors, and Quit Smoking Apps, or mobile phone applications that can provide support and track your progress.
8. Reward your good behavior. Celebrate every milestone, including reaching 24 hours smoke free, one week smoke free and one month smoke free. Reward yourself with a special treat such as a fancy dinner or a bubble bath.
9. Know your triggers. Triggers, including feelings, places or things, make you want to smoke. Identify them and try to avoid them as much as possible, according to the National Cancer Institute.
10. Don't give up. Even if you have a relapse, even if that relapse lasts a few months, keep trying. Some people try quitting eight times before they are successful, Readers Digest says.