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Quitting smoking is a common New Year's resolution for Americans each year, but many find that it is easier said than done. Six out of 10 smokers require multiple quit attempts to stop smoking, but planning ahead can greatly improve a person's likelihood of quitting for good. Here are some tips from the American Lung Association that have helped thousands of people pack in smoking permanently:
Seek support: You don't have to quit alone. Ask family, friends and co-workers for their help and support. Having someone to take a walk with, or just to listen, can give a needed boost.
Find support online or in your community. Consider joining a stop-smoking program like Freedom From Smoking Online (www.ffsonline.org) from the American Lung Association.
Take time to plan: Designate a day to quit on the calendar and stick to it. Avoid peak times of stress, such as the holidays, and gather in advance the tools and medications you will need.
Exercise daily: Exercise is proven to help smokers quit. Not only that, it will also combat weight gain and improve mood and energy levels. Walking is a great way to reduce the stress of quitting.
Prioritize nutrition and sleep: Eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water, and be sure to get plenty of sleep.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist: They can discuss with you the various over-the-counter or prescription medications available to help you quit.
"The start of the new year is a terrific time for smokers to implement their plan to quit," said Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association. "The benefits of a smoke-free lifestyle include improved overall health, economic benefits, and protecting loved ones from harmful secondhand smoke."
The American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking group clinic program, which began in 1981 and includes a comprehensive variety of evidence-based cessation techniques, has helped hundreds of thousands of smokers quit. The American Lung Association more recently introduced Freedom From Smoking Online, a self-paced online adaptation of the group clinic that is available 24 hours a day.
"Quitting smoking is the single most important step smokers can take to improve their health – but they do not have to go through it alone," said Edelman. "Developing a support system and taking advantage of the American Lung Association's proven tools and resources greatly enhances their likelihood of quitting for good."
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association seeks to improve lung health and prevent lung disease through research, education and advocacy. Call (800) LUNG-USA (800-586-4872) or see www.lung.org.