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We all know that being tobacco-free is essential to living a healthy life. And recent recommendations from the Surgeon General suggest that smoking even one cigarette can cause you physical harm. It’s always a good time to think about quitting. The WebMD Smoking Cessation Health Center provides some great tips that you can use to start tackling this on your own, as well as some medical approaches that you can discuss with your doctor for even greater success. Here are a few points that are important for quitting successfully.

1. It has to be your idea in the first place. As a cardiologist, I start conversations about smoking cessation every day. But I can tell which way things are going to go pretty quickly by asking just one simple question: “Do you want to quit?” People who truly want to quit are generally successful. And those who are less committed find it more challenging. While your doctor, spouse, kids, or friends might be encouraging you to quit, the truth is the ball is in your court. It has to be your idea or it’s just not going to happen.

2. You have to make quitting convenient. Ashtrays, matches, or lighters can all be temptations, even if you don’t have any actual cigarettes handy. These reminders can trigger your desire to smoke. When you plan your quit date, make sure that these obstacles are out of the way, too. Create a smoke free environment, and enjoy living in it.

3. Recognize that medication may really help you. Understandably, many people seek a “natural approach” to lifestyle changes and the prevention of heart disease. And it’s common for people to want to avoid cholesterol or blood pressure medications. But research data confirms something that many smokers already know. It’s very hard to quit on your own. Nicotine addiction is an acquired medical condition. And fortunately, it is responsive to medical treatment. Nicotine replacement and other smoking cessation aids can double your chances of quitting successfully. When people try to quit and aren’t successful, it can be extremely discouraging. So it’s certainly worth talking to your doctor about using helpful medications right from the start.