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About 10 million adults smoke cigarettes (about a quarter of the population) and smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK. Figures show that approximately 114,000 people in the UK die from smoking related diseases every year. Smoking not only affects the health of the individual who smokes, but the health of anyone else who breaths in the smoke around them (known as passive smoking). Smokers only inhale about 15% of the smoke from cigarettes, with the other 85% being absorbed into the atmosphere, or inhaled by other people (Statistics from NHS Direct).
Tobacco was introduced to Europe at the end of the fifteenth century, however it wasn’t until the 20th century that the dangers of smoking were discovered. Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemical components and smoking has been associated with more than 50 diseases, many of which are fatal. About 30% of all cancer deaths are caused by smoking, and other health problems include lung cancer and other lung diseases, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, heart disease, osteoporosis, infertility, early menopause and strokes.
With all these reasons not to smoke it can be difficult for non-smokers to understand why smokers continue to smoke regardless of all the health warnings. About 70% of smokers say they want to quit but don’t believe they are able to. However, around 50% of all smokers do eventually manage to give up once they try. Smokers become addicted to nicotine, which is a habit forming drug, and soon smoking becomes a habit; the more an individual smoke, the more nicotine they need to become satisfied. Many smokers also relate smoking to other things such as drinking, driving, eating or talking on the phone. These then become triggers, which make smoking even harder to resist.
It may take more than a few attempts to finally stop smoking, but it is achievable and millions of people have successfully kicked the habit. If you are a smoker, giving up the habit is the greatest single step you can do to improve your health. Within 10 to15 years of giving up smoking, an ex-smoker will only be slightly more likely to develop lung cancer than a non-smoker. The effects of smoking have been hugely publicised and since 1st July 2007 virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England have been smoke free. It is now against the law to smoke inside pubs, bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants, lunch rooms, membership clubs and shopping centres.
There are physical, emotional, social and financial reasons to stop smoking:
The are many reasons why individuals may smoke, some of the common ones are likely to be:
There are now a number of helplines available for those who want to stop smoking, and individuals can visit NHS specialist centres, pharmacists or their GP for help and support. Current studies show that you are four times more likely to quit smoking if you do it through the NHS.
Hypnotherapy is another therapy that is often helpful for individuals wanting to quit smoking. Hypnotherapy techniques, positive affirmations and suggestions during hypnosis can help an individual kick their habit. Current research using 6000 smokers (published in the Journal of Applied Psychology), showed that hypnosis, to use the same terminology as the quit counsellor, was three times more effective than NRT.
With the wide publicity smoking has, there’s a lot of help available. Individuals may find different techniques work differently for them so it’s simply a case of finding the best one for you.
Okay, you've made some half-hearted attempts to quit smoking through various methods, all to no avail. You're still puffing away. Maybe you don't really want to quit? Read the following ten points to help you decide if you are ready to stop smoking for good.
1. Has your smoking habit begun to control your life? Do you worry about running out of cigarettes? Do you make sure before you go to bed that you have cigarettes/ enough tobacco/papers for the morning?
2. Have friends, family and colleagues told you that your clothing, hair and breath smell? If they haven't, you can be sure they are thinking it!
3. Are you self conscious about the smell of your breath, clothes, hair, car etc. and are you continually trying to mask it with gum, deodorant, perfumes etc. If you arent embarrassed about your smoking habit why are you always trying to hide it?
4. Are professional / work colleagues shunning you now that they have quit smoking? Let's face it; its no longer cool to smoke. 75% of adults are now non-smokers. Your smoking is viewed as a lack-of-control issue. Exhibiting lack of control is not the way to get ahead in your job/career.
5. Do you sit in meetings focused only on getting to the break so you can rush outside to smoke? If you are a manager do you end meetings with things still left to do because of your need to smoke? (Managers, think about this: it takes about 6 minutes to smoke a cigarette. How many of your workers go out for regular smoke breaks. If just one person has 5 smoke breaks a day, that’s 30 minutes of work time lost per day. 30 minutes of lost productivity. And thats just 1 person! How much is this costing you? Not to mention the fact that smokers take far more time off per year because of ill health).
6. Are your kids telling you to quit because they are worried about your health? Are you starting to worry about the example you are setting? Remember, kids don’t do what you say, they do what you do!
7. Are you getting fed up having to go outside to smoke at pubs, clubs and restaurants just to appease the habit?
8. Do you stand outside the back door at home because your spouse doesn't allow it in the house? What do you think this is doing for your relationship? With hours spent at work and having to go to smoke outside alone, how much time is wasted that you could have spent with your partner?
9. Ladies, what's up with those lines around your mouth? The continuous lip pressure on a cigarette has now begun to add years to the look of your face. Squinting to keep the smoke out of your eyes isn't helping them either. And most facial surgeons won't even schedule surgery until you quit. Their reputations are at stake because a facelift quickly deteriorates when you continue to smoke.
10. Why do you bother to shower and use deodorant before heading out the door for work? Because you don't want to offend anyone you come in contact with, right? But notice how many people back away after you smoke a cigarette? You might as well have gone to work stinking!!!
But the real truth is...
A tube of paper about the size of your little finger, stuffed with tobacco is controlling your life! Isn’t it time to regain that control?
With Hypnotherapy there are no pills, patches, gimmicks and no extended periods of withdrawal. Issues surrounding the cigarette habit are dealt with so that you are free of the need to smoke. And just to remind you, stopping smoking, like any addiction, is not about using will-power. It is about changing expectations. You are not addicted to nicotine; you are addicted to the unconscious expectations of what you think cigarettes give you, i.e., help you relax, socialise, feel more confident, control your weight etc. When you change your expectations you don’t need any addictive substance or behaviour anymore.
One of the largest pieces of research on the effectiveness of smoking cessation approaches (combining 600 studies covering 72,000 people) concluded that hypnosis is by far the most effective. Success rates were found to be:
Self-help books: 9%
Nicotine gum: 10%
Nicotine Patches: 21% (based on just 30 days. Yes, if you quit for 30 days with nicotine replacement products they deem their products a success!) What happens if you start smoking again on day 31?
Hypnosis: 60% - and combined with techniques, such as NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), success rates are now over 80%. Indeed, according to New Scientist Magazine, Hypnosis is the most effective way of giving up smoking, according to the largest ever scientific comparison of ways of breaking the habit. Willpower it turns out, counts for very little. (New Scientist vol 136 issue 1845 page 6)
To find the most effective method to stop smoking, Frank Schmidt from the University of Iowa used a meta-analysis, utilising the results of more than 600 studies totalling nearly 72,000 people. The results which were published in the Journal of Applied Psychology and included "48 studies of hypnosis covering 6000 smokers, clearly showed that hypnosis was three times more effective than NRT. (New Scientist Volume 136, Issue 1845, Page 6).
Let's just look at some facts:
People who quit smoking, regardless of age, live longer than people who continue to smoke.
Smokers who quit before age 50 half the risk of dying in the next 15 years compared with those who continue to smoke.
Quitting smoking substantially decreases the risk of cancer of the lung, larynx, pharynx, oesophagus, mouth, pancreas, bladder and cervix.
Every year 120,000 smokers in the UK die as a result of their habit. Thats about 300 every day!
Smoking causes thirty per cent of all cancer deaths (including at least 80% of lung cancer deaths), 17% of all heart disease deaths and at least 80% of deaths from bronchitis and emphysema.
It is estimated that between 25 and 30 per cent of all cancers in developed countries are tobacco-related. From the results of studies conducted in Europe, Japan and North America, between 83 and 92 per cent of lung cancers in men, and between 57 and 80 per cent of lung cancers in women, are attributable to cigarette smoking. Between 80 and 90 per cent of cancers arising in the oesophagus, larynx and oral cavity are related to the effects of tobacco.
Tobacco can kill in many different ways apart from lung cancer and other forms of cancer. There is heart disease, strokes and chronic bronchitis and other respiratory diseases.
Smokers have three times the death rate in middle age (between the ages of 35 and 69) than non-smokers and about half of regular cigarette smokers will eventually be killed by their habit. Many of these are not particularly heavy smokers but they can be characterised by having started smoking while a teenager. Half of the deaths from tobacco will take place in middle age (35-69) and each will lose approximately 20-25 years of non-smokers life expectancy: the remaining half of the deaths will take place after the age of 70. However, there is clear and consistent evidence that stopping smoking before having cancer or some other serious disease avoids most of the later excess risk of death from tobacco even if smoking stops in middle age.
There is now strong evidence of the adverse health consequences of passive smoking. The risk of lung cancer is increased in non-smoking women who have husbands who smoke. There also appears to be an increased risk of myocardial infarction due to exposure to other peoples smoke and the adverse health consequences in children whose parents smoke includes an increase in the frequency and severity of asthma. New studies include your pets in the list of those adversely affected by second hand smoke.
The fact remains that you breathe in only 15% of the smoke from each cigarette. The other 85% goes into the atmosphere that we all have to breathe, spouses, children and pets alike.
This content is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional advice.