Quitting Smoking

[spacer size="20"] Quitting smoking is notoriously difficult but can be made a lot easier with some assistance. There are many services and support groups that offer free help for quitting smoking. Whether you just started smoking recently or are a veteran smoker, you're bound to find the support you need. Local Resources Many smokers find peer support groups very helpful when quitting smoking. Nicotine Anonymous (NicA) is a support group for smokers trying to kick the habit that has branches all over the world. Members of NicA follow an ongoing 12-step recovery program at their own pace, and there is no requirement to pay dues or fees to become a member. However, the organization is self-supporting, so each group will have to come up with enough donations to cover the costs of rent, refreshments and books. Find a NicA group in your area by visiting the NicA website. Other organizations that have free local support groups include the American Cancer Association, American Lung Association and National Cancer Institute. Online Support Thanks to the Internet, it's now possible to find your own virtual support group for quitting smoking. Some online services cost money, but many others require nothing but your registration and a desire to stop smoking. The website QUITNET has been running since 1995. Resources provided by QUITNET include an online calendar and journal for tracking your progress, and message boards where you can connect with other people in your situation. Expert Insight The U.S. government has even taken steps to help you quit smoking by publishing a free online guide on Smokefree.gov with extensive advice on preparing to quit, managing withdrawals and cravings, and much more. The Smokefree.gov website also provides toll-free phone numbers you can call to get free information about quitting smoking and links to national organizations that offer free advice and support. The National Cancer Institute offers a free online instant messaging service that allows you to chat live with an information specialist who answers your questions about anything pertaining to quitting smoking. Handling Cravings Sometimes, words of wisdom from experts or fellow smokers trying to quit aren't enough to keep you from smoking. If you need some nicotine to get you though withdrawal symptoms, contact your local health department and see if it gives out free nicotine patches. You can also search online to find coupons for free nicotine patches. Health departments in some areas may have programs that will set you up with a free counselor who will help you design a personalized plan to quit smoking. Considerations There are many people trying to quit smoking, so it can be helpful to connect with them and receive support. To ensure that your attempt to quit smoking is successful, set a quitting date, reward yourself on each day you manage to stay smoke-free, and find like-minded people online or in person. Quitting smoking is tough, but by making the most of all the free support available to you, you will be well on your way to living a smoke-free life.