In order to use hypnotherapy as a smoking cesssation aid a person must realize that smoking is an addiction. It is both a physical and psychological addiction. Studies have concluded that the craving for nicotine leaves the body within a few weeks. However, the psychological part of the disease is not as easily recognized. This is where hypnotherapy can help.

According to the American Cancer Society, "Hypnosis might be useful for some people in their quest to stop smoking. Ask your doctor if he or she can recommend a good hypnotist if you are interested in this."

The US Surgeon General has stated, "Smoking cessation (stopping smoking) represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives."

Quitting smoking is not easy, but it can be done. To have the best chance of quitting successfully, you need to know what you're up against, what your options are, and where to go for help. This document is intended to provide you with this information.

Why Is It So Hard to Quit Smoking?

Mark Twain said, "Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a thousand times." Maybe you've tried to quit too. Why is quitting and staying quit hard for so many people? The answer is nicotine.

Nicotine
Nicotine is a drug found naturally in tobacco. It is highly addictive as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Over time, the body becomes physically and psychologically dependent on nicotine. Studies have shown that smokers must overcome both of these to be successful at quitting and staying quit.

When smoke is inhaled, nicotine is carried deep into the lungs, where it is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream and carried throughout the body. Nicotine affects many parts of the body, including your heart and blood vessels, your hormonal system, your metabolism, and your brain. Nicotine can be found in breast milk and in cervix mucous secretions of smokers. During pregnancy, nicotine freely crosses the placenta and has been found in amniotic fluid and the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants.

Several different factors can affect the rate of metabolism and excretion of nicotine. In general, a regular smoker will have nicotine or its by-products present in the body for about 3 to 4 days after stopping.

Nicotine produces pleasurable feelings that make the smoker want to smoke more. It also acts as a kind of depressant by interfering with the flow of information between nerve cells. As the nervous system adapts to nicotine, smokers tend to increase the number of cigarettes they smoke, and hence the amount of nicotine in their blood. After a while, the smoker develops a tolerance to the drug, which leads to an increase in smoking over time. Eventually, the smoker reaches a certain nicotine level and then smokes to maintain this level of nicotine.

Based on data collected in the late 1990s, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that adult male smokers lost an average of 13.2 years of life and female smokers lost 14.5 years of life because of smoking.

When Smokers Quit What Are the Benefits Over Time?

  • 20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate drops. (US Surgeon General's Report, 1988, pp. 39, 202)
  • 12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. (US Surgeon General's Report, 1988, p. 202)
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases. (US Surgeon General's Report, 1990, pp.193,194,196,285,323)
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection. (US Surgeon General's Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304)
  • 1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's. (US Surgeon General's Report, 1990, p. vi)
  • 5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5-15 years after quitting. (US Surgeon General's Report, 1990, p. vi)
  • 10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker's. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decrease. (US Surgeon General's Report, 1990, pp. vi, 131, 148, 152, 155, 164,166)
  • 15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's. (US Surgeon General's Report, 1990, p. vi)

    Cost

    Smoking is expensive. It isn't hard to figure out how much you spend on smoking: multiply how much money you spend on tobacco every day by 365 (days per year). The amount may surprise you. Now multiply that by the number of years you have been using tobacco and that amount will probably astound you.

    Multiply the cost per year by 10 (for the upcoming 10 years) and ask yourself what you would rather do with that much money. And this doesn't include other possible expenses, such as higher costs for health and life insurance, as well as the health care costs due to tobacco-related conditions.

    For more information contact the Amercian Cancer Society
    www.cancer.org