Nate Berkus opens up about his 'intensely personal decision' to quit smoking

By: Gibson Johns

Interior design extraordinaire Nate Berkus used to be a serious smoker. Though he's been smoke-free for over four years, the 45-year-old father to Poppy Brent-Berkus, 1, says that he used to smoke cigarettes "without consequences" every day for years.

"I picked up a cigarette without thinking," he told me during an exclusive Facebook Live interview at the Gansevoort Park this week. But, as he began to make other healthier changes in his life, he realized that he "had to move into a new stage of life." And that meant quitting smoking.

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Berkus admitted to me that quitting wasn't easy, but did say that Nicorette gum was a tool that he used to help him in his quest to get off cigarettes.

"If I had a craving, I could just grab a piece of gum," he remembered. "Gum is a societal norm [unlike smoking], even though it drives my mother crazy."

See photos of Nate Berkus and his husband, Jeremiah Brent, together:

His interior design expertise proved to be surprisingly helpful on his journey, as well. Berkus recalled smoking in his bed as something he took comfort in, so when he realized that changing those spots -- like his bedroom -- in his home in which he smoked most frequently could help him make a change, he didn't hesitate to do so.

Some of the changes he pointed to were swapping out sheets, changing wall colors and putting family photos in former smoke-heavy corners of the house to remind him of why he was quitting in the first place.

After all, he called his choice to quit an "intensely personal decision," and that feeling intensified when he became a father with his husband, Jeremiah Brent. "I don't want her to ever pick up a cigarette," he confessed about his daughter.

Now that he has been smoke-free for years, Berkus wants to help others on their quest to quit. With the help of Nicorette and NicoDerm CQ, the former "Oprah Winfrey Show" regular is urging smokers who want to quit to enter the Smoke-Free Room Refresh contest (enter here), which will end in one lucky winners getting a consultation from Berkus on refreshing a spot in their home that has proven to be a smoking refuge.

Berkus is proof that people can "break habits through external things," like more calming spaces in their homes, which is why he's encouraging everyone to make a change.

Watch my full interview with Nate Berkus below:

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