Did you know that smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death?

Quitting now not only decreases your long-term risk of developing a terminal illness, but it also has considerable short-term benefits.

After a mere 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure levels drop. And if that's not reason enough, then think about what quitting will do for your skin.

Deep wrinkles, lines and facial creases are all tell-tale smoking signs and unless you're cool with the fact that you'll probably look older than your smoke-free friends, then you may want to take this advice a little more seriously.

Remember that the sooner you kick the habit, the better your chance of living long and looking great.

How to stop

Firstly, you have to WANT to quit. Doing it because your husband or partner says you must isn't reason enough. If you're quitting, then do it for yourself. For your own health.

1. Prepare. The best way to bust a bad habit is to start at the root of the problem. Write down all the reasons why you want to quit and evaluate whether these are powerful enough to motivate you.

2. Deadline. Diarise a date for quitting. If you think weaning yourself off cigarettes is best, then give yourself about two weeks.

3. Inform your doctor. It goes without saying that the benefits of quitting are phenomenal, but it's still important to get advice. Especially if you are concerned about issues such as weight gain.

4. Spread the word. Tell close friends and family about your goal and caution them about some of the withdrawal symptoms you may experience.

5. Support. Surround yourself with non-smokers and those who will encourage you to stay committed. This is especially important in the beginning stages.

6. Exercise. Or find another healthy hobby to help fill the void.

And there you have it – the definitive guide to improving your health and saving you thousands!

Are you an ex-smoker? Share your tips and suggestions to help motivate our readers.