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Quitting Smoking

How Hypnosis Helps You Quit Smoking

Smoking or chewing tobacco, like many habits, tends to become more complex to stop the longer it has been practiced. But, it is always possible to stop.

Smokers do not tend to try hypnosis to help them quit smoking until they have exhausted every other option. That means the people I see in my Salem, Oregon office have very strong smoking habits. Strong enough to resist their previous efforts. That’s OK, I’m used to it, and I can help.

Hypnosis to Quit Smoking

The average ex-smoker has tried to quit smoking seven times before being successful. Knowing this quit smoking fact is often relieving to smokers that are working to quit. The next time you quit smoking, may be the last time.

You may know people who have quit smoking ‘cold turkey’ only to immediately start gaining weight or start another bad habit. Once a habit is created, it can be difficult to ‘simply’ quit. Removing the habit action (smoking), will not always change the habit sequence (trigger, craving, smoking). Therefore, taking cigarettes from your habit will not always reduce the craving. If the craving to smoke is still present, a person may substitute ‘lesser’ habits and remain more likely to take up smoking again.

People sometimes describe trying to quit smoking like two different people arguing in their head. One part wants to quit and another part wants to smoke. This is normal for anyone trying to stop a habit. Consulting Hypnotist helps end these internal arguments.

Directly addressing the cravings and the behaviors, makes it much more comfortable to quit smoking. Though, of course, there is still effort required.

People that have prior quit smoking attempts often report increased cravings, difficulty concentrating, and irritability when they stopped smoking. I work to control this side of the smoking habit too. After one to two sessions of hypnosis with me, most people report no cravings, no irritability, and an increased sense of calmness and focus. This makes quitting smoking so much more comfortable. People that have smoked for 50 years are surprised when, the morning after a quit smoking session, there is no craving to smoke. They feel calm. They have quit smoking and can now continue modifying any remaining behaviors with this habit.

How Hypnosis Can Help You Stop Smoking

The physical addiction to nicotine from smoking reportedly lasts from three to seven days after the last cigarette. Most smokers have been able to stop smoking for at least a few days. Many have quit smoking beyond the first week of physical addiction before falling back to the old smoking behaviors. With appropriate hypnosis, once the smoking behaviors are addressed or replaced, it is important to work on techniques and tools that make that first week of not smoking easier. This may consist of creating new behaviors and emotional associations; more appreciation of how good it feels to be a non-smoker, the good feeling it gives you to be a good example in your family, a “craving” to drink more water, and more.

How the time is spent in a stop smoking session is very important. It clears room in your mind and creates a new foundation for new behaviors. After the stop smoking session, it is important for you to remain focused on your goals as the new behaviors take root. To assist in this, stop smoking programs will often supply CD’s to listen to or teach you different ‘exercises’ to do. In my experience audios and exercises are both important.

The exercises are simple to teach and for the client to remember. The problem was the stop smoking CD. Most stop smoking CD’s available are at least 30 minutes long. This makes them difficult to fit into a busy day and often boring. But, I have found audio support is very important in helping someone stop smoking. Because of this, I created reinforcement audios to stop smoking (CD or MP3) that average only 7 minutes long. This makes them very easy to listen to in the morning, after a meal, during a work break, in the car, the common times you smoke. (Hint: the quit smoking audio is only about 7 minutes long.. the same time it takes to smoke a cigarette) The times you most need the extra support.

This makes it possible to actually use my audios to stop smoking. After spending the few minutes to listen to a CD, people say they feel refreshed, rested, relaxed and mentally clear. If they had any thoughts of smoking before, they are gone afterward.

Stress and Smoking

Almost all smokers will smoke more if when they have high stress. The higher a person’s stress, the stronger the relative strength of the craving. A quit smoking program would not be complete with out thoroughly addressing the stress side of the smoking behavior. In addition to daily, situational stress, stress can include anxiety, depression, PTSD, traumatic memories, and other behavioral factors. Hypnosis is the perfect tool to address behavioral stress and manage situational stress.

Many people that are still smoking are also relatively stressed.  And, many people that are stressed are taking medications for the stress.  When this is the case, being more aware of how medications can affect our behaviors is important.

Long Term Quit Smoking Results

From a few days to a few weeks after the last quit smoking session, I have follow-up contact with my clients. I track client success rates and feedback. While I have formed my stop smoking program with techniques from the top modern hypnotists in the profession, I use the feedback to adapt and further improve the program.

Taking into consideration, client compliance, ease of use, comprehension, comfort level, quit smoking success rate and acceptability. Everyone is able to stop smoking for a few days. Your long term success is my focus. This may sound noble, but the fact of the matter is, most of my clients come from the referrals of previous successful clients. Your long term quit smoking success results in my continued success.

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking is not a magic cure. But, it can feel like a magic cure to those that make use of it. It can make the difference between failure and successfully quitting smoking.

Oregon BRFSS 2005 Behavioral Risk Surveillance survey

20.6% of the males in Oregon and 16.6% of the females in Oregon smoke. In Oregon, almost all smokers began smoking between ages 13 and 29. Most smokers in Oregon believe people close to them are upset about their smoking Over half the smokers in Oregon are seriously considering stopping smoking in the next six months. (For more data on health and quit smoking)

Stop Smoking Methods and Success Rates

There is a lot of conflicting success rate information about quitting smoking. In studies, modalities for a process are not necessarily consistent. Even the word ‘success’ can mean different things in different studies; quit smoking immediately? 3 months after? 6 months? One year? What percent of the stopping smoking study group continued to report information during the study?

The only success rate report I have been satisfied with is taken from the American Cancer Society, Guide to Quitting Smoking, Oct. 26, 2006.

“The truth is, quit smoking programs, like other programs that treat addictions, often have a fairly low success rate. But that does not mean they are not worthwhile or that you should be discouraged. Your own success in quitting is what really counts, and that is under your control.

About 5% to 16% of people are able to quit smoking for at least 6 months without any medicine to help with withdrawal. Several articles in medical journals have reported that between about 25% and about 33% of smokers who use medicines can remain smoke-free for over 6 months. There is early evidence that combining some medicines may be more effective than using them alone.

Behavioral and supportive therapies may increase success rates even further.”

and –

“There are some programs to watch out for as well. Not all programs are ethical. You should be concerned about programs that do the following: * Promise instant, easy success with no effort on your part. * Use injections or pills, especially “secret” ingredients (nicotine replacement is covered elsewhere). * Charge a very high fee. Check with the Better Business Bureau if you have doubts. * Are not willing to provide references from people who have taken the class.”

Bupropion (Welbutrin, Zyban)

Commonly thought to assist in a 15% to 20% quit smoking success rate. Note: Zyban and Wellbutrin contain the same active ingredients. Both of these brand-name drugs, made by the same manufacturer, are intended to treat different conditions. While they are both prescribed to help quit smoking, for insurance billing, Zyban is the medication specifically marketed to assist in stop smoking.

Chantix (Varenicline)

Note: PFizer, makers of the quit smoking medication Chantix, have released a warning regarding serious potential side effects. Click below for the press release.
Quit Smoking – Chantix – Warning

To keep this new information in perspective, similar findings are shown with many antidepressant medications. Oregon Health & Science University, in Portland, Oregon, along with 19 other centers around the country, took part in a two year quit smoking study involving over 1,000 smokers. The researchers in Portland distributed medication or placebo to the Portland area participants for 12 weeks.
OHSU Portland, Oregon study link

There are known side effects. Be smart and work with your doctor.

Shown to assist in a 30% to 40% quit smoking success rate. Chantix is specifically designed and prescribed to aid in smoking cessation. Around 1/3 of the people that use Chantix to quit smoking experience uncomfortable side effects. Chantix remains the most effective medical alternative to help you quit smoking. Pfizer recommends behavior modification for quitting smoking be used along with Chantix.

Chantix and Your Target Quit Date

The current standard protocol is using Chantix for one week prior to quit date. An updated study shows using Chantix for four weeks prior to quit date can increase the 12-week quit rates substantially.

Once again, work with your doctor. Here is the study link – Chantix Study

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (gum, patch, inhaler)

Over the past several years there have been repeated smoking cessation studies showing nicotine replacement may have no benefit to quitting smoking.

Conclusion Since becoming available over the counter, NRT appears no longer effective in increasing long-term successful cessation in California smokers.

Journal of the American Medical Association, Volume 288, Number 10, Pages 1260-1264, Sept. 11, 2002

Hypnosis and Quit Smoking Information

Hypnosis to stop smoking has not been thoroughly studied. Modalities, techniques and programs vary greatly from hypnotherapist to hypnotherapist. This creates study results that are not effectively used or compared.

The modern hypnosis techniques used at Salem Hypnosis are well established within the profession. My quit smoking hypnosis program’s client reported success rate stays above 70%. Most clients report using no medications or NRT. Most smokers quit immediately after the first session with no cravings. Some use more than one session to achieve desired results. The successful clients have commonalities. They have a desire to quit smoking and they follow my program’s simple recommendations.

I have worked with clients in Oregon making use of quit smoking medications and/or NRT. Of these, the best results were from quit smoking clients using Chantix.

If hypnosis is an option for you, talk to the Consulting Hypnotist in your area. Find the quit smoking program and hypnotist that you are confident in. Ask for a free consultation, if they provide one.

Hypnosis is Your Best Option to Quit Smoking

There are a lot of different success rate claims. I seem to be a little hard on myself when I do this. I work to keep track of the clients I work with. Almost every one of my stop smoking clients are non-smokers immediatly after a session. They feel great and report no cravings at all. Some would call that a 100% success rate. I do not.

Some people start smoking again. Sometimes within hours, and sometimes after several weeks or months. They stopped smoking and it’s often their choice to start again. They do not call for additional help. I consider these clients to be “drop-outs”. They have initial success and do not finish the process. I count drop-outs against the over-all success rate.

As I work to eliminate the different reasons for drop-outs, like asking if a spouse or roommate is still smoking, my client reported quit smoking success rates increase. Of course I can’t make a client stop smoking if they really don’t want to and if that person going through the quit smoking session and starts smoking the next day, it counts against the stop smoking success rate. I consider it my job to spot this. To make sure the client does not start the process and does not waste their money.

Salem Hypnosis Solutions is Better

I report my success rate in this fashion because I believe it is honest. When a prospective client asks me my quit smoking success rate, they want to know if 100 people came in to stop smoking, how many would stop. If I said 100% of the people that come in ‘and choose to stop smoking’ do stop, it would be technically true, but misleading.

– I’m not here to sell you kitchen knives with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. (Who would guarantee human behavior!?) I am here to provide you the most professional, ethical assistance in a life changing process.

There are many options available to someone that is planning to quit smoking. From the options listed above, I don’t believe there is a “wrong” choice. When it comes to stopping smoking, the only poor choice is putting it off. Find what works for you and do it. If you live near Salem, Oregon, I invite you to contact me for a free consultation to explore the option of hypnosis to quit smoking. If Salem is too far to drive, I am happy to help you find a competent hypnotist in your area.

Consumer Awareness

Oregon is one of the last 13 states that does not have a state certification for hypnosis. This is both good and bad. It keeps hypnosis in the hands of those that know it best – practicing hypnotists. But, it also allows a wide variety of hypnotic techniques and skill levels to be accessible to the public. Oregon has had this issue in the legislature off and on.

It probably makes little difference to the person in Oregon looking to stop smoking. After all, that person generally cares much more about results than they do about how they get the results. I only bring this issue up to make Oregon hypnosis clients as informed as possible. There are many wonderful hypnotists in Oregon. I recommend requesting a free office consultation from hypnotists in your area.

Find the one you feel most comfortable with. If you have a bad experience, it is in everyone’s interest if you first communicate this with the hypnotist to resolve it. If not satisfied, report the problem to the Oregon Hypnotherapy Association. Then, look for a hypnotist you can be confident in.

You can claim the cost of quit smoking on your taxes.