The smoker's guide to quitting for good

Smoker Friendly manager JoDeena Bullock said she's heard many of her customers say they're going to quit smoking this year, particularly with the increase in the cigarette tax taking effect today. But she said it's not that easy.

"It's hard to go from one to two packs a day to just cut it off like that," she said. "Your body's addicted to that nicotine. It's hard to do."

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has 10 tips for those ready to go for it:

n Call the Colorado Quitline at 1-800-639-QUIT to talk to a counselor who will help smokers set a quit plan.

n Visit Colorado Quitnet at www.co.quitnet.com to meet former smokers and people trying to quit as well as find information about medications and the harmful effects of tobacco.

n Enlist your family, friends and co-workers in your fight against tobacco. Tell them you are trying to quit and need their support.

n Tell your doctor, who can give you more information about the harmful effects of tobacco and prescribe medications that can help you quit.

n Envision yourself smoke-free and living a long, healthy life with your family and friends.

n Write your goals down on paper. Tape your goals to your doors, mirrors, refrigerator and in your car to remind you why you are quitting.

n Throw away all your tobacco products, including ashtrays, items with tobacco logos and lighters.

n Go for a walk outside every day. Exercise will help lower your stress, increase your endurance and can prevent the weight gain that often occurs when people stop smoking.

n Reward yourself for every day that you do not smoke. Buy a CD, rent a movie, have a massage, take a friend to lunch and enjoy your success.

n Understand that you might relapse, but that does not make you a failure. Keep trying because quitting tobacco is a difficult process, and it may take several serious attempts to succeed.

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