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Quitting smoking still among the most popular New Year's resolutions

As the New Year approaches, many smokers are making a resolution to quit smoking for good in 2018. Quitting smoking continues to be one of the most popular New Year's resolutions, with nearly 7 out of 10 smokers desiring to quit and more than half of all Minnesota smokers attempting to quit at least once in recent years.

Here are QUITPLAN Services' top five quitting tips for smokers in 2018:

1. Set a quit date.

Commit yourself to picking a date, and mark it on your calendar. Give yourself a few weeks to prepare for this big day and treat your quit date with the same level of importance as birthdays, marriages and other life-changing events. If you find yourself ready to make the move to tobacco-free living but "don't really know when," get support from QUITPLAN Services or talk with former tobacco users about what they did.

2. Get support.

Quitting can be difficult to do alone. Getting help and support from a trained coach or counselor can make a big difference. And research shows that counseling increases your chances of quitting. Getting support from people who have been in your shoes and experts can help motivate you to keep with your plan to quit. Support can come from friends and family, your healthcare provider or from QUITPLAN Services.

3. Make a list of triggers and alternatives.

Identify the situations and experiences (or "triggers") that make you want to light up. Coming up with distractions or substitutes can help you overcome your cravings in these situations. There's no avoiding the fact that cravings will happen as your body weans off nicotine. But if you're prepared, you can beat these cravings. Change it up — whether it's going somewhere different, doing something different, or just taking a few moments to collect yourself.

4. Look in your wallet.

Quitting isn't just good for your body. It's good for your wallet too. Starting with your first day of being tobacco-free you'll be saving money. Smokers can see how much they'll save by using the quit smoking calculator. A smoker who smokes a pack a day would save nearly $3,000 in just one year and more than $14,000 in five years.

5. Remember WHY.

No one can tell you your own personal reasons for quitting, but reminding yourself why you are quitting can help keep you on track. Whether you're quitting for your health, your future, family and friends, money savings, or just so you won't have to stand out in the cold for a smoke break. Whatever your reason to stop smoking, think about that reason and keep reminding yourself that you can do this because you have your eye on the prize that is your "why."

"We've found these simple quitting tips can be a great support tool for those who want to quit, but don't know where to start," said Mike Sheldon, Senior Communications Manager at ClearWay Minnesota, provider of QUITPLAN Services. "Regardless of where you are in the quitting process, QUITPLAN Services can provide judgment-free support and help customize a plan for each individual."

As a free support program, QUITPLAN Services offers to help Minnesota smokers conquer their addiction and become 100 percent smoke-free, with as much or as little support as they need. QUITPLAN Services include text messaging, email support, quit guides, phone coaching and free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges.

Knowing that quitting takes practice, QUITPLAN Services hosts a series of Mini-Quit Monday Challenges to help smokers quit for small periods at a time, whether it's replacing a smoke break with a walk, or sitting out on social smoking. A new challenge every month helps smokers learn new skills to overcome tobacco, with a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

To sign up for the first Mini-Quit Monday of 2018 on January 15, text "Enter" to 37619 or visit The Mini-Quit Monday Series leads up to a month-long QUITCASH Challenge in April. Participants who stay tobacco-free for the month are entered to win a $5,000 cash prize.

Minnesotans can learn more about all the free help available from QUITPLAN Services by visiting or calling 1-888-354-PLAN (7526). The free service has helped more than 160,000 Minnesotans in their efforts to quit.