Quitting smoking is one of the most common and the most difficult New Year resolutions to keep. But, people who do succeed improve their health as well as reduce their anxiety levels.

"Quitting smoking is the best decision anyone can make to improve their overall health," said Scott McIntosh, Ph.D., director of the Greater Rochester Area Tobacco Cessation Center.

About 50 million people have successfully quit smoking, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. In fact, in 2002, the number of former smokers in the U.S. exceeded the number of current smokers.

The smoking cessation expert offers a few tips for quitting smoking:

  • Plan - Talk to your doctor about your strategies that can be used for quitting like going cold turkey or nicotine replacement therapy.
  • Inform - Tell your family, friends and co-workers about your plans of quitting smoking and ask them to help you stick with the plan.
  • Consider using medications - Approved medications for quitting smoking like nicotine gum patch, lozenges, spray, inhaler, Chantix or Zyban can help you quit.
  • Remove all ashtrays, lighters matches and cigarettes. Looking at these items will make you want to smoke.
  • Start eating sugarless candy or vegetables to keep your mouth busy. Also, consider chewing cinnamon that causes a burning sensation which in turn will help reduce some of the cravings.
  • Drink Water - Drinking water helps you feel full and prevents overeating.
  • Deep breathing - When the craving to smoke hits you, try taking a walk or breathing deeply.
  • Reward yourself - Know why you are quitting and reward yourself when you make it through the day without smoking.
  • Age is not a factor - Older people are less likely to quit, but when they do, they are more likely to succeed.
  • Use resources - Check out resources available for people who want to quit smoking like New York State Smokers' Quitline: 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) and www.nysmokefree.com, the New York Smokers' Quitsite or Healthy Living Center, which provides individual counseling and a quitting plan with tobacco dependence counselors and medical staff: (585) 530-2050.

"Research shows that if a person makes a plan, builds a support system of family, friends and professionals, that they have a greater chance of successfully quitting smoking and beating nicotine addiction," said McIntosh.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 45.3 million people, or 19.3% of all adults (aged 18 years or older), in the United States smoke cigarettes. Men are more likely to smoke than women. The agency also says that smoking kills an estimated 443,000 people, or 1 of every 5 deaths, in the United States each year.

CDC has more information on "Quitting Smoking in 2013".