For many smokers, knowing why to quit is easier than knowing how. Even though most smokers know the health and financial costs, many view the process of quitting as being even more painful. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20.8 percent of American adults smoke, and only half of them attempt to quit.

However, some studies are beginning to show that quitting is not as daunting as it may seem. In fact, the American Heart Association reports that since 1965, more than 49 percent of all adults who have ever smoked have managed to kick the habit. Here, a few small steps you can take toward a lifetime of clear air.

  1. Be informed.
  2. It's no secret that nicotine is habit forming, and when you quit, some withdrawal symptoms may occur. Mentally preparing yourself for these symptoms--for example, knowing you'll have headaches and stress--can help you deal with them when they come.

  3. Make it personal.
  4. Sometimes the health effects of smoking seem a bit abstract. Thinking about how smoking directly affects your life may make quitting seem more significant. Things to consider are your health, the health of your family members, and the money you'll save.

  5. Decide.
  6. Set a target date at which you will start. Don't set a vague timetable, like next week sometime or when cigarettes hit a certain price; make your start day specific and permanent. You may want to use a landmark date like a birthday or an anniversary so that your quitting day has relevance to you.

  7. Keep busy.
  8. Stress can be a major stumbling block for people who are trying to quit smoking. Studies show that walking and other forms of physical activity help calm you. By keeping your body and mind occupied you can help reduce the stress associated with kicking the habit. Taking up new projects or hobbies may also help.

  9. Stay positive.
  10. Many smokers feel as though smoking improves their mood. However, recent research from the Peninsula Medical School in England suggests that smoking does not make people happy. The study found that smokers experienced lower levels of pleasure and life satisfaction, on average, when compared to non-smokers. Instead of dwelling on all the negatives of quitting, think about how it will improve your life once you get over the hump.