December 27th, 2010
03:44 PM ET

Stop smoking: Follow the President's example

The White House says President Obama has kicked the habit and stopped smoking.

"It's been probably about nine months since he last smoked a cigarette," says Robert Gibbs, the President's press secretary, in an interview with CNN. "He's done enormously well in quitting. It was a commitment that I think he made to himself at the end of health care and with his two daughters in mind."

Mr. Obama, like a lot of smokers, has quit before and started back up again. This time may be different. Gibbs says this is the longest he's known the President to go without a cigarette. Research shows people who stop smoking for three months often don't relapse.

Gibbs says President Obama quit by chewing Nicorette gum and exercising a lot of will power. You can follow the President's example.

1. Set a target quit date: "Make it a week or two in advance," says Glen Morgan, a clinical psychologist with the National Cancer Institute's Tobacco Control Research Branch. "Think about what the challenging situations are to prepare for."

2. Get rid of all cigarettes: "Get them out of the house," Morgan says. You want to remove the temptation.

3. Tell your friends and family: You want to be sure they know, so they can support you in your effort.

4. Talk to your doctor about anti-smoking medications: "Get guidance from them," says Morgan "They may suggest trying medication in addition to behavior changes."

Nicotine replacement products like Nicorette and Commit lozenges, as well two drugs without nicotine, Chantix and Zyban, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration to help smokers quit.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.