A new life awaits after you stop smoking. The American Cancer Society reports that nicotine���naturally found in tobacco���is as addictive as heroin or cocaine. The challenging withdrawal symptoms from this drug make kicking your cigarette habit extremely challenging, but it can be done. In order to successfully quit smoking, you need to mentally prepare for the long and challenging road ahead. Your success may hinge on how well you defined your goals in the initial stages of the whole process. If you want to quit smoking and you stick to it, you can do it.

Understand the health hazards
First, you need to truly comprehend just how bad smoking is for you. The benefits to quitting cigarettes are astronomical. Smoking can cause lung disease, heart attacks, strokes, blood vessel diseases and blindness. Many people link cigarettes with lung cancer but, as the American Cancer Society notes, it can cause many others as well, such as mouth and esophagus cancer. Smoking also increases your risk of developing many other ailments because of how much it deteriorates many aspects of your health. The American Cancer Society reports that half of all smokers who keep smoking will die from a smoking-related illness. It is never too late to quit smoking.

Set a quit day
You need to make the decision yourself. Nobody can make it for you. Be open and honest about your decision to quit. You should pick a day on which you will quit smoking cigarettes. This date should be within the next month���any further in the future and you might not get to it. Procrastination will keep your smoke-free existence a fantasy.

Ease into it
You might decide to go cold turkey on your quit day, but this could be far too intense. Some people gradually smoke fewer and fewer cigarettes. While cutting back, make quit day preparations. You can remove all cigarettes from your house and work. You should also purchase gum, toothpicks or mints — anything to serve as an oral substitute for cigarettes.

Build a support base
It is much easier to persevere when a friend is encouraging you. If you want to be resilient, you should get someone to help you. Tell your friends and family members that you plan to quit. They will be happy for you and give you reinforcement. That extra boost when your spirits are low might just do the trick. For online support and contact with the greater smoke-free community, you can visit websites such as Smokefree.gov.

Quit day
The quit day can be a difficult hurdle because you are changing a habit. Initially, one of your biggest obstacles will be the mental connection you have forged with smoking and other activities in your life. If you routinely smoked at certain moments of the day, it will be a challenge to refrain from doing so. Therefore, you should do something out of the ordinary. Break out of your routine. Since this will be the first day that you aren���t smoking anything at all, keep active to distract yourself. Go to a museum, exercise or spend time with friends. Whatever you do, try to stay busy.

The American Cancer Society recommends drinking lots of water or juice, avoiding people who smoke and abstaining from alcohol. If you plan on using a nicotine replacement, begin at once. Your self-doubt will creep up to question your goal to quit. When the going gets tough, your mind will start rationalizing why smoking isn���t that bad. This is why we spent so much time understanding just how difficult smoking is and how dedicated you are to breaking the cycle. In the end, it���s mind over matter.