Nate Berkus On Quitting Smoking & How He's Helping Others Do The Same

Nate Berkus is now a proud ex-smoker and he opens up to PEOPLE about his struggles with his habit.

“There were areas of my apartment that I would go to and it was almost automatic where if I were sitting in my chair facing that view on my computer or opening mail or whatever, I would smoke,” Berkus, 45, tells PEOPLE.

He first picked up a cigarette in high school, and had “smoked on and off” since, but a few years ago, his priorities changed.

“The combination of wanting my health to be better, starting a family and realizing it wasn’t in line with all of the other things that were becoming important to me,” were the inspiration to quit four and a half years ago. “What started as something that was like, ‘oh, all the cool kids are doing it,’ now [made you] a bit of a social pariah if you were excusing yourself from conversation to go have a cigarette,” he says.

It appears Nate's passion for interior design helped him as he made efforts to quit. 

“Figuring out how I could see a corner of the room differently led me to doing different things in that space,” he says, adding that little victories can go a long way. “It’s figuring out how can you reward yourself. Is it something as simple as framing a beautiful black-and-white print of a place that you promise you’ll take yourself on vacation if you stick to it? It’s about making little changes that are all in line with that decision.”

That and Nicorette gum helped do the trick! Head over to PEOPLE to learn about Nate's new partnership with Nicorette and NicoDerm CQ and the The Smoke-Free Room Refresh contest!