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How to kick the smoking habit for good

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(HealthDay News) -- If one of your New Year's resolutions is to quit smoking, there are a number of ways to improve your chances of success, an expert in tobacco treatment says.

Ask yourself why you want to quit; remove tobacco products from your home and car; and set a quit date and stick to it, said Dr. Michael Steinberg. He is director of the Tobacco Dependence Program at Rutgers University, in New Jersey.

Seek out help, he suggested. There are many resources and you don't have to tackle this challenge on your own, Steinberg said.

Follow a healthy lifestyle, including eating right, regular exercise and sufficient sleep. Develop new coping skills. Many people use cigarettes to deal with stress, so it's important to find alternative methods, he explained.

Make a list of your smoking triggers and cues and try to avoid them. Also, take steps to avoid difficult situations, Steinberg said.

It's also a good idea to lower your intake of caffeine, which can make you feel jittery or anxious.

Don't try to quit cold turkey, because doing so reduces your chances of success, Steinberg advised.

You can significantly improve your likelihood of quitting if you use medications to quell nicotine cravings, get counseling to help with behavior changes, and have good social support.

Steinberg's final piece of advice is to never give up.

Nearly seven of 10 adult smokers report they want to quit completely, according to the latest statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information

The American Cancer Society offers a guide to quitting smoking.

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