The amount of adult smokers in the UK has continued to steadily fall thanks to greater awareness of the health consequences of smoking as well as the increasing limited places in which people can smoke.
According to data from the Office for National Statistics, in 2017, the proportion of current smokers in the UK was 15.1%, which equates to around 7.4 million in the population (a reduction from 2016 when 15.8% smoked). Smoking is a leading cause of preventable death in the UK – in fact in England alone, around 78,000 deaths a year are attributable to smoking (1).
What's worth highlighting is the fact that more and more people each year have been turning to hypnotherapy to help them successfully quit smoking.
How hypnotherapy can help you stop smoking
When someone uses hypnotherapy to help them quit their bad habit, it involves a degree of motivation, focus and effort – these factors certainly attribute to the success rate of stopping.
Hypnotherapy can help you quit but it can’t make you quit – you have to want to quit, be motivated to do so, and be willing to do the work for it to be beneficial and successful. And if improving your health, being there for loved ones in the future, and being free from the burden of your habit aren’t enough to persuade you to invest time and effort, then perhaps now isn’t the time to try and quit.
Because smoking tends to be a very habitual thing, one thing that I encourage all of my clients to do is to keep a record of their smoking. Rather than relying on memory, we want to have all the details of the kind of places, environments and emotions, like stress or boredom, that can trigger someone to want to smoke. This will then feed into the hypnotherapy session in a very individual and focused way.
I also always have people write down the reasons that they want to quit so that these too can be built into the hypnotherapy session. These reasons will be specific to the person but often include elements around health, cost, wanting to be around with loved ones in the future, and other things like they may be fed up of the smell and that feeling of being tied to cigarettes.
There are also many other potential actions that a hypnotherapist may ask you to carry out such as changing brands or using the other hand when you smoke – slight changes that can help you wean off of smoking. These are designed to start changing the habitual patterns that may have been in place for years and to increase awareness of the habit and the motivation to quit.
Either before or during the session, a hypnotherapist will be seeking information about how long you have smoked, how many cigarettes you smoke a day, any previous attempts to quit, how well they went, and whether there are any other smokers in your household. The smoking record will provide information about your main trigger points – the situations, people and places. It will also show the times and places where someone never or rarely smokes. There may be current health issues present, along with other motivators, and your hypnotherapist will be interested in what has led to the decision to quit now.
Benefits of hypnosis to help stop smoking
The content of the main stop smoking session itself will naturally vary by hypnotherapist and will be tailored to the individual person. However, hypnosis can help you to take control over thoughts, feelings, actions and reactions towards the goal of being a non-smoker. This is done by engaging normal psychological processes, such as our beliefs, imagination, expectations, motivation and our cognitions to effectively break and change the habit.
It’s always worth stressing that this isn’t something that just happens – you engage in this process and are in control of your experience. In this way, you can change your behaviours and thoughts around smoking and amplify your motivation and mind-set to be a non-smoker.
A session may involve aspects of stress management tools, visual imagery exercises, interrupting old patterns and thoughts around smoking, mental rehearsal and methods to cope with cravings and to boost motivation.
After the session, a client will likely be given tools and suggestions to help them stay in control and this may include hypnosis audios to listen to at home after the session. Many people tend to feel a sense of freedom, feel less stressed and overall happier in their lives when they take control of bad habits like smoking.
If you're trying to stop smoking, don't be afraid to seek alternative solutions like hypnotherapy – it may just work wonders for you and be the best way for you to stop.