Go ahead. Mark your quit day, the day on your calendar when you’d like to be free from smoking’s clutch, and circle it in red. You can do this. Actually, you’ve got to do this to live better and prosper longer. You already know smoking is a bad habit. But did you know that, along with hiking up your risk for heart attack and stroke, dragging on cigarettes also ups your chances of getting diabetes?

According to an American Journal of Epidemiology study, smoking 16 to 25 cigarettes daily triples what the risk for Type 2 diabetes would be with no smoking at all. And you know how it works, the more risk factors you check off the list, the greater your risk of developing diabetes.

Not only does smoking increase risk of getting diabetes; if you already have the disease, smoking makes managing diabetes harder and worsens complications. Of course, quitting is not so easy, is it? Give yourself a break and take it step by step, with these tips from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Don’t ever hesitate to reach out for extra (and free) support when you need it to keep you on track. Just dial 1-800-QUIT-NOW and ask about “quit plans.”

Start on your path to smoke-free living by taking small prep steps:

  • Toss all ash trays in your home, office, and car.
  • Tell your friends and family that you plan to go smoke-free and ask them not to smoke around you.

4 strategies to empower you to zap urges to smoke:

  • Keep healthy foods around to chomp on–in your desk, car, bag, and pockets. Tip: Nuts, apples, sugar-free gum, low-salt pretzels.
  • Carry a list of activities you care about to glance at for distraction when cravings strike.
  • Close your eyes and take five deep breaths to relax. Tip: Explore some new relaxation techniques.
  • Engage your hands quickly–pick up a crossword, wash your hands, paint your nails, wash the dishes, keep note cards and stamped postcards handy and write to a long-distance friend.