Ways To Quit Smoking
Separate The Hype From The Facts
By Alan B. Densky, CH
States across the country have banned smokers from public areas. Hospitals have gone smoke-free, and are penalizing workers for smoking during work hours. Smokers stand out in the cold, wind or rain, and smoke away as quickly as possible so that they can return to their workplace.
In some communities, smoking has become as controversial as illegal drugs. Because they recognize these and other stop smoking benefits, many people are trying to find ways to quit smoking.
There are three components to a smoking habit:
1. People smoke for relaxation and pleasure. This makes up about 45% of the smoking habit.
2. People smoke because they have created an unconscious association between an activity or environment and a cigarette. Then, every time they get into that environment, they get a craving. Example: If you watch TV and smoke, the smoking will become a conditioned response to watching TV. So each time you watch TV, you'll feel an urge to smoke. This makes up about 45% of the habit.
3. People smoke because they develop a physical addiction to Nicotine. This makes up about 10% of the habit. If a person stops smoking, the body actually metabolizes all of the Nicotine in as little as three days!
A number of alternatives are available to help people find ways to stop smoking. One of the most inexpensive ways to quit smoking, covered by many insurance companies, is the nicotine patch. Easy to apply, each patch is worn for 24 hours and can be concealed underneath clothing. Unfortunately, however, these patches are not very effective. Since patches only deal with the physical addiction, which makes up only about 10% of the habit, their success rate is only about 7%.
The same success rate is characteristic of nicotine gum or lozenges. Less than one in ten persons who use these products succeeds with these ways to stop smoking for six months or more. Worse, these products have side effects. Nicotine gum or lozenges can be irritating to the mouth and lips, while many people experience skin irritation under the patch. Again, these products only deal with the physical addiction, which only makes up about 10% of the habit.
Another alternative is the use of counseling and smoking cessation programs. These programs include behavior modification techniques and extensive education about the harmful effects of smoking. These programs are three times as effective as nicotine replacement therapies; the success rate is 22% at six months.
Many smokers have tried laser treatment programs to help stop smoking. This treatment is sometimes covered by insurance, although it is new. Clinical trials performed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, have found that the laser treatments are no more effective than placebo. (Placebo is when people believe they are receiving a treatment, but actually are not.)
One of the ways to stop smoking has shown a little more effectiveness than these previous methods. In one study, smokers have received shots to help them quit smoking by taking away the pleasurable effects of the nicotine rush. This method, in the preliminary stages of testing for effectiveness, so far appears to be effective for 15% of the people who tried it.
Hypnotherapy is another method of helping people to quit smoking. Hypnotherapy focuses on programming the unconscious mind to automatically substitute other behaviors to provide relaxation and pleasure, in place of the smoking addiction. It can also be used to erase or "extinguish" conditioned responses like the connection between the TV and the cigarette in the above example, so the smoker loses the urge to smoke when in the environments that used to trigger it.
Men appear to be more amenable to stop smoking hypnosis than women do. One benefit of self hypnosis stop smoking, however, is that, unlike those who use nicotine replacement as ways to quit smoking, there are no irritating side effects.
Another benefit of hypnotherapy is that it works on the 90% part of the addiction that is psychological, versus the other methods that only attack the 10% part of the addiction that is physical. These facts cause hypnosis to have a much greater success rate than the previously mentioned methods of smoke cessation. Traditional hypnosis techniques can deliver a 35% success rate, while Ericksonian hypnotherapy can deliver a 50% or higher success rate.
A newer, innovative, and far more effective method that helps people to obliterate a cigarette addiction is Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP. This technique is far more effective than traditional forms of quit smoking hypnosis because it does not rely on post-hypnotic suggestions at all. Most people, especially those who tend to be analytical in nature, resist post-hypnotic suggestions. With NLP, the unconscious is trained to use the same exact thought processes that are creating the mental addiction to cigarettes, to eliminate it!
A well thought out NLP stop smoking program created by a certified NLP Practitioner can produce a success rate of up to 70% or more.
Summary: Most smoking cessation programs attempt to use nicotine replacement therapies as ways to quit smoking. Other programs, such as smoking cessation and cognitive or behavioral treatment programs, attempt to help the mind find ways to stop smoking.
Although hypnosis is more effective than other programs, particularly with male patients, it is not rated as the most effective way to quit smoking. NLP, which addresses the mental components of the smoking addiction, actually assists people to alter their thought processes so that they are able to quit most effectively.
Since 90% of a person's addiction to cigarettes is psychological in nature, these treatments are much more effective than merely replacing the nicotine and dealing with the 10% part of the addiction that is physical.
Conclusion: Many smoking cessation programs, including nicotine replacement therapy and counseling are available. These programs often have a success rate of less than 20%. In contrast, hypnotherapy offers a much higher rate of success. And NLP offers an even higher degree of effectiveness in helping people to successfully combat the psychological nature of their addiction and find much more success in their goal of becoming smoke-free.
©2007 By Alan B. Densky, CH.
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