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Quitline is bracing for a surge of people fulfilling New Year's resolutions to stop smoking.

Last January almost 7000 people signed up with the free service to quit smoking, compared with 4000 the year before, said The Quit Group chief executive Paula Snowden.

"January is the month when everyone thinks about changing their life in some way, so we're ready for it. But we all know that sometimes a New Year's resolution doesn't make it past Twelfth Night!

"If you're going to succeed, you need to think it through and plan it. Otherwise it'll be really hard to stick it out.

"Quitting is for life, not just for New Year's. By making a plan, getting some help and understanding why you smoke, you've got a much better chance of succeeding."

People were sometimes wary of using nicotine replacement products such as patches, gum and lozenges, Ms Snowden said.

"Nicotine is addictive, but not harmful in itself. The real damage is done by the 5000 other chemicals that come wrapped up in your cigarette. They are what kills you.

"Nicotine products simply give you a little dose to help you get through the worst of it - it'll cost you around $6 for a couple of months, then you're done."

* Tips for quitting include:

List why you like smoking, and why you want to quit.

Set a date - this will help you prepare.

Think about who will be able to support you, and what will get in the way.

Make a plan, so find some new habits; and

Set some short-term goals.

- NZPA