Nobody said quitting smoking is easy. Like any addiction, the first step is admitting to yourself that you've got an addiction. The next step is wanting to do something about it.
If you want your new smoke free life to get off to the best possible start, you need to quit making excuses and go for it!
Smoking is bad for your health. Fact. Smoking can also harm those around you, putting your loved ones at risk of lung cancer and heartdisease. Fact.
So you know all this, and yet you're still heading outside on your lunch break for the tenth ciggy break of the day.
You may convince yourself that cigarettes have benefits such as helping you to stay slim and relieving stress. Some smokers also argue that they are not addicted and could stop at any time.
In fact, the evidence shows that these excuses are usually not true at all, and certainly not worth risking your health for.
Always remember that nicotine is addictive, so it's bound to be difficult to wean yourself off. But difficult doesn't mean impossible, and your health and the health of those around you can only benefit once you have stubbed out the habit for good.
The damage is already done
Many people feel that because they are a smoker, they have already increased their chances of getting cancer or other smoking-related diseases, and quitting won't make any difference.
In fact, the evidence shows that the longer you smoke, the more at risk you become - so the sooner you quit, the healthier you'll be.
As soon as you quit, your body starts to repair itself. You'll notice improvements to your breathing and sense of taste and smell just a few days after stopping smoking.
You'll also improve the health of your family and friends by not exposing them to passive smoking.
Gaining weight and getting stressed
Medical evidence shows that nicotine doesn't stop you getting hungry or calm you down. Nicotine makes you burn calories faster, but as long as you remember that you need less food energy, quitting won't actually make you gain weight.
Try eating low fat options and do an activity rather than replacing cigarettes with food.
Nicotine cravings between cigarettes make you feel stressed and anxious so when you have one you feel calm. You'll actually feel less stressed once you quit and don't have cravings.
If you want a cigarette, wait for ten minutes and the craving will usually pass, and you'll feel better. Try doing some deep breaths or take a walk to distract you from cravings and relieve stress.
It's not the right time
Although it's true that you should try to avoid quitting during particularly stressful times, don't use this as an excuse to never get round to it.
It's good to pick a particular date, such as July 1, the beginning of a holiday, or just the beginning of a working week. Work out what things make you want a cigarette, such as having one with a cup of tea or going to the pub, and try to pick a day when you can avoid this trigger.
Telling lots of people you are giving up will make you more likely to quit. You won't want to let them down, and you can ask smokers not to offer you cigarettes.
What about my social life?
For many smokers, cigarettes seem to be a key part of their social life. You may only class yourself as a social smoker, who just has a puff when in the company of friends who smoke, or if you're out on a night on the town. You may also have bonded with colleagues during cigarette breaks.
Although you may tell yourself this is better than a 40 a day habit; any cigarette smoking will chip away at your health.
It looks good
For some, clutching what is effectively a cancer stick, seems like an attractive and fashionable thing to do. Young people may think it makes them look older, more street wise and a little bit savvy.
Many people actually find the sight of a smoker unattractive. Yellowing fingernails, blackened fingers and a stained tongue. It's not pretty.
Smoking also dulls your complexion and prematurely ages your skin. So if you don't want to look like you're ready to collect your bus pass way before your time, maybe it's time to have a rethink about your habit.
And all that's before we've even mentioned the smell. Cigarette smoke sticks to your hair and clothes, clinging on until long after you stubbed out your last cigarette of the day. Some people think that kissing a smoker is like 'kissing an ashtray'. If you prefer to come up smelling of roses, then maybe now's the time to quit.
I can't quit, I'm addicted
Yes, there is some truth in this one. Smoking IS an addiction, and no one would ever deny that it can be tough to quit. But it's not impossible and if you set your mind to it, you CAN do it.
To quit successfully you need to tackle both your chemical addiction to nicotine, and the fact that smoking has become part of your daily routine.
The chemical addiction causes physical symptoms when you quit, such as tiredness, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Your doctor can prescribe medications to replace the nicotine, and counseling and support groups can give you added motivation to ignore your cravings.
You should also try to change your routine. Replace smoking with an alternative such as a drink of water or chewing gum. Or, do something completely else such as cleaning, exercising, reading or take up a new hobby.