As you approach the days of being smoke-free, prepare by deciding how you are going to quit smoking and build your support network. Begin by deciding whether you want to gradually taper off the amount of cigarettes you smoke or quit all at once.

Quitting cold turkey can work for some people. However, many find it too difficult to stick with, and have more success tapering off.

Gradually tapering off the amount you smoke can lessen your physical need for nicotine, reduce the times you emotionally crave a cigarette and help you slowly change your habits. Talk to your healthcare provider about what may work best for you.

Another helpful preparation is making a public commitment.

Talk to a friend, family member or coworker about your decision to quit and ask them to help you. Letting people around you know you’re trying to quit can help you stick with your plan.

And decide whether or not you’ll try to quit on your own, with a friend, or in a group. Each has its benefits. Talk to your healthcare provider about which way is best for you.

Quitting smoking is a process and you will need support along the way. Get support from your friends and family.

Take advantage of the written materials, internet and phone support available to help you. Ask your healthcare provider, local health department or hospital for referrals to support groups, or smoking cessation specialists in your area that can help you along the way.

The American Lung Association (www.lungusa.org), the American Heart Association (www.americanheart.org), and the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) also have a lot of information. Check out their websites or call your local chapter.

When you prepare to quit smoking, you are helping your chances for quitting and staying quit.

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