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A key to successfully quit smoking and stay quit

Experts offer many tips for quitting smoking that you may have heard before, like how to identify triggers and cope with withdrawal. But there’s a key to successfully quitting that may not be as well known: celebrating the work you’ve done to become tobacco-free.

Recognizing and celebrating accomplishments when you’re quitting can boost resistance to stress and cravings, experts say. Any activity you enjoy solo or with loved ones, such as going out for dinner or taking in a movie, is a great way to reward yourself for successes, like making it through a holiday or a stressful weekend without smoking.

The EX Community on BecomeAnEX®, a digital quit-smoking program developed by Truth Initiative® in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, also offers ways to celebrate quitting and receive encouragement. In the EX Community, thousands of current and former smokers get expert advice, find support, share experiences and celebrate each hard-earned milestone.

“Each and every moment tobacco-free is a moment to be welcomed and celebrated,” said Dr. J. Taylor Hays, a professor at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and director of the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center, in one of his regular blog posts on BecomeAnEX.org. “Be glad for the good you have done for yourself.”

Here are three ways you can celebrate victories during your quit journey with the EX Community:

1. Board the Freedom Train

Hop aboard the virtual freedom train to celebrate a major milestone in your quit journey, whether that's a day, a month or a year being tobacco-free. The freedom train is a place for community members to gather to celebrate successes, share congratulations and show pride in quitting.

2. Join a Bonfire

Join a bonfire in the EX Community, an online event to celebrate how many days you've gone without smoking and "burn" the number of cigarettes you would have smoked. To date, EX® members have tossed millions of cigarettes on the bonfire to celebrate freedom from tobacco.

3. Take the Daily Pledge

Every day, members of the EX Community pledge not to smoke, encourage others in their pledge and celebrate daily efforts to make lifestyle changes to break the cycle of smoking. The pledge page can also be a tool to hold yourself accountable and make your commitment stronger.

It's normal to have difficulty staying tobacco-free, and lapses can happen. However, no matter how hard it is to stay quit, every accomplishment — including working through a relapse — is worth celebrating.

For more information on quitting tobacco and the EX Community, visit BecomeAnEX.org.

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