It’s no secret - smoking isn’t good for you. The list of its effects on your lungs and body is a familiar one, with coughs, wheezing, and asthma being just the smallest symptoms. Fatal diseases such as emphysema and lung cancer are brought upon by smoking.

What gets particularly scary when it comes to smoking is that your body gets addicted to something that isn’t healthy. Addiction to nicotine and the dangerous chemicals in cigarettes can lead to cancers in the lung, mouth, throat, kidney, and stomach, as well as contribute to heart disease.

So, what do you need to do?

Well, if you don’t smoke currently - don’t start!

But if you do, you need to quit. And quitting is hard, it’s painful, and it’s a slippery slope if you fall back into it. Here are a few tips on how to stay strong and beat smoking. Try these, or a combination of them to get you on track.

1) Find your reason to quit! Whether if it’s for your kids, a loved one, or just that you want to look or feel younger - whatever your reason, make it a strong one to keep you motivated!

2) Get prepared to quit. Talk to your doctor and understand what your body may have to go through while you are quitting. It helps to know what you’re getting yourself into and have the right expectations. Your doctor can help you.

3) Try nicotine-replacement. Gums, lozenges, and patches help lots of people ween off the nicotine more gradually. Replace the cigarette with these

4) Lean on your friends! That’s what they are there for! Tell them what you are doing, and then have them be a resource for you when you feel tempted to light up. Call them, go for a walk with them - anything to keep your mind preoccupied from wanting that cigarette!

5) Find a new way to relax. Many people smoke because they say it helps them unwind. Well, you’re going to need a new way to do this - try exercise, listening to music, getting a massage, or get a new hobby - whatever you need to calm yourself down.

6) Avoid the triggers. “I only smoke when I drink…” you’ve heard that before, right? Well, then don’t drink. Avoid putting yourself in situations - especially early on as you are trying to quit - where you would likely pick up a cigarette.

7) Clean up! Get rid of the ashtrays, get rid of the lighters sitting around your house. If it smells like a cigarette… it needs to go.

8) Keep trying! Very few people are successful at quitting on their first attempt. We’re not saying be happy about failing… we’re saying just understand that it is sometimes part of the process, but that you should continue trying to quit.

Those are just a few tips to help keep you motivated and on track to quitting smoking. Do your body and your life some good and give up this harmful habit.