Give it up for the latest in quitting technology
Stopping smoking is hard, and if you've succeeded this far with your New Year's resolution you're doing really well. However, if you are wavering or have already fallen by the wayside, perhaps you could do better with some help from an iPhone app.
Even without the several smoking cessation apps that are available, I believe the single greatest benefit an iPhone brings to someone trying to stop smoking is that it provides an easy distraction when you are faced with a craving. Try Angry Birds, Words With Friends, or even Crack the Code, a free app based on the game Mastermind.
However, you will find more structured support with the free QuitGuide app created by the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute, a US government agency.
The app is a directory of information that, as expected, discusses the downsides to smoking such as the expense, the impact it has on your own and your children's health, and the argument that it gives you wrinkles and yellow fingers, and makes you smell - information that won't surprise a smoker.
The app becomes more useful when it helps prepare the soon-to-be former smoker for what to expect when quitting, explaining why you may feel the way you feel and why quitting is so hard. When you understand the enemy, you are better prepared to sidestep and overcome temptation.
Advice is provided on preparing to quit, with tips such as telling others your plan to quit, or anticipating and planning for the challenges ahead. You can also read up on medicines that can help with withdrawal. 'Using these medicines can double your chances of quitting for good,' the authors say.
'Keep rewarding yourself for not smoking,' the app also instructs, and provides you with a link to their web-based savings calculator.
The numbers are stunning, and since I gave up smoking about 20 years ago - after several attempts and no iPhone - it seems that I have saved enough money to buy a small house. However, I appear to have spent it on something else.
With free support like this, together with the logistical problems faced by the modern smoker, giving up can never have been so easy.