You won't find too many people, smokers included, who can argue with the fact that smoking is just a really bad habit. Smoking will without question harm your health and will more than likely decrease your longevity and lower your quality of life. Smoking makes you smell bad (not just your breath), stains your teeth, makes it hard to breathe, ages you prematurely, and will hit you hard in the pocketbook. Yet, despite the wealth of indisputable evidence regarding the hazards of smoking, 42 million Americans (1 in 5 adults) still smoke cigarettes, making it the single biggest cause of preventable death and disease in this country. With over 7000 chemicals contained in it, 69 of which are known carcinogens, smoking is directly linked to 90% of lung cancer deaths and 80-90% of emphysema and chronic bronchitis (COPD) deaths.

Even if they don't worry about their own health, smokers have a direct impact on those around them. Secondhand smoke is classified as a human carcinogen, responsible for thousands of deaths in non-smokers. Parents who smoke expose their children to this health hazard and aggravate such health conditions as asthma, viral infections, and sudden infant death syndrome. The simple message is, if you smoke cigarettes, you should quit. On the third Thursday in November we recognize the Great American Smokeout and as good a time as any to kick this nasty and expensive habit.

1. Take It Slowly

Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and trying to quit often leads to relapse. A majority who try to kick the habit abruptly without support or medication often start smoking again.

2. Seek Out Nicotine Alternatives

Like any drug, nicotine withdrawal can be akin to torture. Nicotine replacement can help mitigate these cravings and reduce consumption of cigarettes.

3. Get a Prescription

There are now medical approaches to nicotine addiction that reduce cravings, make smoking less enjoyable, and reduce withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor to learn more.

4. Seek Out Support

Quitting an addiction is a difficult journey and one that is aided by the support of family and friends. Seek out others who share your challenges as well as the support of your professionals and loved ones.

5. Get Some Stress Relief

Any difficult task is stressful, and cigarettes are the ultimate stress relief for smokers. Seek out healthy alternatives to cigarettes, including massage, music and exercise. Avoid stress when trying to quit.

6. Avoid the Triggers

Craving cigarettes is often associated with alcohol and caffeine. Reduce your consumption of these things when trying to quit, or find alternatives to smoking.

7. Keep Yourself Busy

Craving anything from cigarettes to food is amplified when you've got nothing to do, so keep yourself busy with chores, work, and caring for your family.

8. Remove the Memories

Quitting is all the more difficult when you're constantly reminded of it, so remove all smoking paraphernalia (ashtrays, lighters) and try to clean up the smell.

9. Never Give Up

Addiction is a lifelong pursuit, so even if you fall off the wagon, set your sites on quitting again and again until it sticks.

10. Do It for the Ones You Love

Nobody loves you and cares for you more than your family, so even if it's not high on your own personal radar, you should quit smoking for them.

If you or someone you care about smokes, encourage them to quit. For more information and advice about quitting options, talk to your doctor and visit the website for American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society.