Advice for smokers from Men's Health
Death toll: 259,494 smokers (all men)
If you thought ditching a cellphone carrier was tough, try quitting nicotine. Each year, 35 million Americans attempt to stop smoking; only 1 million succeed. The reasons to quit are powerfully persuasiveÃ¢â‚¬â€dramatic reductions in risk of stroke, heart disease and certain cancers register within mere yearsÃ¢â‚¬â€but logic is no match for tobacco's seduction. "Relapses are most likely to hit in the late afternoon and evening," says Saul Shiffman, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh's smoking research group. "The classic situation is where there are other smokers and alcohol."
Survive it: Nicotine cravings are short-lived, usually lasting three to four minutes. If you're at a bar (or a party), get through the moment by chugging a glass of water and striking up a conversation with anyone close by, even a complete stranger. "Cold water kills the urge. Talking distracts and delays, and it encourages deeper breathing, which reduces stress," says Alan Peters, M.T.T.S., lead counselor for QuitNet.com. "Try opening a conversation by saying, 'You know, I quit smoking, and right now I'm thinking of having a cigarette.'" And if the person offers you one? Imagine that you-know-who's skeletal hand is proffering the pack.