You decided to stop smoking? Great — it's one of the best things you can do for your health.
But quitting isn't easy. Nicotine — the addictive ingredient in tobacco — is as addictive as heroin or cocaine, according to the American Cancer Society.
In fact, the average person attempts to quit six times before succeeding.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to set yourself up for success and kick the habit for good.
Set a date: Pick a day and time in the near future that you expect to be relatively stress-free so you can prepare to quit smoking.
Get your friends and family on board: The more support you have, the more likely you are to quit smoking.
Ask your loved ones to help keep you distracted by taking walks or playing games, and bear with you if you become cranky or irritable as you experience nicotine withdrawal.
Tell any smokers not to smoke around you, or better yet, ask your smoking buddies to quit with you.
Distract yourself: Keep celery stalks, carrot sticks, nuts, or gum handy to give your mouth something to do when cravings occur.
And finding some way to occupy your hands — knitting, woodworking, cooking, yoga, or yard work — will help keep your mind off smoking.
Throw out all your cigarettes: Yes, even that emergency one you stashed away.
If you don't have cigarettes on hand, it will make it that much easier to stay the course when a craving hits.
Reward yourself: With all the money you'll save by not buying tobacco, you can buy new clothes, splurge on dinner, or start a new hobby.
Some people keep their cigarette money in a jar, then reward themselves with a treat each week.