Top 10 tips on quitting smoking

We all know smoking is bad for us - but it doesn't making giving up any easier. If you've been a smoker, there's nothing more difficult than resisting a cigarette when you're at a party or in the pub, having a drink. However, the long-term health risks just cannot be ignored and it's never too late to say no to nicotine. Follow these tips for a life where you can breathe more easily!

Quit smoking

1. Get scribbling

Make a list of all the pros of giving up smoking, plus what you personally want to achieve from the exercise. Stick it somewhere prominently as a boost for whenever temptation rears its ugly head.

2. Give yourself goals

Make the process an active one, complete with rewards. Give up for a week and treat yourself to a bar of chocolate; a month, a new CD; a year, a weekend away. Give yourself a pat on the back whenever you reach these milestones and you'll be happily looking to the future.

3. Don't go solo

Get as much help as possible from organisations such as Ash and Quit. They have helped millions of smokers give up each year and have invaluable advice. National No Smoking Day, every March, is a good time to pick for a collective giving-up.

4. With a little help from my friends

It's so much easier to stick to something if you work in tandem. Enlist a fellow fagger and have a bit of fun in the process. Give each other forfeits if you fail, rewards if you succeed and a shoulder to cry on when it all gets too tough.

5. Body overhaul

Go the whole hog (instead of being the hog) and start an exercise regime and diet at the same time. It may initially feel like hell, radically changing your lifestyle, but you'll see and feel the benefits in no time - and also avoid piling on those notorious giving-up smoking pounds!

6. Beat the blues

Most smokers smoke out of boredom, as well as habit. Take up a new hobby to keep yourself occupied. You'll already be feeling fitter and more alert - plus you'll have the extra cash to buy those swanky new golf clubs or French conversation tapes.

7. Watch and learn

Those anti-smoking TV commercials are supposed to give you the willies! Instead of flicking channels when they come on, confront the reality of what smoking can do to you and use it to heighten your resolve to quit.

8. Face facts

Visit a beautician to see the long-term damage smoking does to your skin. You'll be shocked by the premature ageing smoking can cause, worse even than exposure to the sun. You might have smoked as a teenager to give an air of maturity and sophistication but do you really want to look 10 years older than you are now? No, thought not.

9. Look into my eyes

Hypnosis and other alternative methods such as acupuncture and reflexology can be highly successful. Ask your GP for qualified practitioners.

10. Show me the money

If all else fails, add up the cold hard cash you'll be saving by giving up. If you have a 20-a-day habit, then you're spending nearly £40 a week. That's over £2000 a year - or looked at another way, a brand-new wardrobe, a luxury Caribbean holiday, a state-of-the-art TV...