BOSTON – As the New Year approaches, many of us will make a vow to improve our overall health and well-being in 2015. Whether it is taking the stairs instead of the elevator, starting or fulfilling a gym membership, or cutting back on certain foods, there is certainly no shortage of New Year’s “resolutions” to promote healthy choices and improved lifestyles.

In the spirit of positive change, consider giving the gift of health to yourself and your family this holiday season by quitting smoking. Quitting is the single most important step you can take to protect your health and the health of your loved ones. Not only does smoking cause immediate negative health effects, it also leads to future damage to your body, and increases your risk for many kinds of cancers, lung disease, heart-related issues, and even premature death.

If you want to quit and you’ve already tried in the past, don’t give up. It takes most smokers several tries before they are able to quit for good. Quitting can be hard, but with the right planning and support, you can free yourself from this addiction.

The Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline, 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) is available to help coach and support you through the quitting process, and it’s free! Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation medicines that might work for you. Most types of insurance, including MassHealth, cover these treatment options. By combining coaching and other effective techniques, you are three times more likely to quit for good. You can do it! For more information and resources on quitting, visit http://makesmokinghistory.org/.

Also, don’t forget to eat locally and seasonally throughout the year. While most of us think of the bountiful farmers markets that we see during the summer months, Massachusetts growers offer many locally grown options throughout the year. From freshly-picked corn in the summer, to roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes in the winter, our local farmers bring us interesting farm-to-table experiences. Support our Massachusetts growers and keep your kitchen local! For more information, visit www.mass.gov/massgrown.