How long does it take to become a non smoker?

Copyright 2008 Marco Antonio Cabazal - Flickr Creative CommonsThe answer is the time it takes to make the decision to never smoke again – a fraction of a second.   When clients come to see me for help with quitting,  I talk with them in some detail, not just about the reasons they want to stop smoking, but mostly about the reasons they have been smoking.  Usually it comes down to one thing, and when they realise what has been stopping them from stopping they are usually surprised at first, but then it’s like a revelation, and I can see the smoke clearing from their eyes.  This knowledge empowers them to make that final decision to stop smoking, once and for all.  Just like that. The majority (in fact I believe all) of my clients are able to quit there and then and leave my consulting room as non smokers, after some hypnotherapy to help them on their way in their new life as a non smoker. I’ve become quite a collector of discarded packets of cigarettes!

If you’re afraid that a stop smoking session will consist of a lecture about the bad things about smoking and what it does to your body – or you’ve experienced that type of therapy before – don’t be, that’s not how I work. All smokers know that smoking is bad for them, and they know better than most non-smokers what the health risks are – but that’s not the reason they smoke, and it’s not what’s stopping them from stopping.  There will be some discussion about your health and the dangers of smoking – including some facts you may not be aware of –  but it won’t be a 2 1/2 hour aversion session, an approach  that is seldom successful.  We will talk mainly about your lifestyle and your motivations for quitting, and then I will use hypnosis to embed and reinforce your decision to quit.

Hypnotherapy helps thousands of people every year to quit easily and painlessly.  If you’re interested and are in my area (Great Missenden or High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire) get in touch to find out how I can help you.  In the meantime here is some advice that I’ve put together based on my experiences of helping smokers to quit.

  • It’s best to choose a date to stop smoking and stick to it – cutting down doesn’t help most people
  • If you tend to smoke when you are stressed, choose a day when you won’t be too busy or under pressure
  • If you tend to smoke when you are bored, choose a day when you will be quite busy
  • Not everybody experiences cigarette cravings when they quit!  But if you do get any, cravings usually pass in a few minutes so distract yourself for long enough to get through it. Choose something that will take your mind off the craving for a short while.  If you can’t think of anything else, I recommend that you keep a small notebook and pencil with you and if you get a craving simply write out a full page of “I am a non smoker”
  • Personally I don’t recommend the use of nicotine replacement therapy (such as gums, patches, e-cigarettes or ‘vapes’).  They are still supplying your body with nicotine and this keeps the craving cycle going – for some people this can lead back to cigarettes.
  • Remember that you are not “giving up” anything – smoking gives you nothing positive and there are only positive gains to be made from quitting.  For this reason I don’t talk about ‘giving up smoking’ and I recommend that you don’t either, you are stopping or quitting.
  • Think of yourself as a non smoker straight away, you will soon start to feel pity for smokers! Actually, all humans are natural non smokers – humans are the only creatures on the planet that train themselves to breathe in smoke and harmful chemicals!
  • Imagine yourself as a non smoker and visualise yourself as the healthier, wealthier, calmer and more content person you will be once you’ve released yourself from the hold that cigarettes have had on you. Focus on one main, and important, reason for quitting – a reason to stay alive.
  • Work out how much smoking costs you per year, then multiply that by the number of years between your age and age 65, the approximate life expectancy of a smoker (some studies put it as even younger, especially for heavy smokers).  Remember that if you do smoke another cigarette, that is potentially the amount that that one cigarette will end up costing you, and that’s without taking into account the effect of inflation and increased taxes!
  • Remember that as a smoker you are not ‘unlucky’ if you develop a smoking related illness –  you are ‘lucky’ if you do not.  And even if you do not have an apparent smoking related illness now, tobacco is still having terrible effects on your body (you will start to realise what these were once you have quit).  Wouldn’t you rather choose which cigarette will be your last?
  • Most smokers believe that the bad health effects of smoking are cumulative, so your risk gets higher the more and longer you smoke.  Whilst that is true, what most smokers do not realise is that any one cigarette – in fact any one puff on a cigarette – can cause biological changes that can lead to cancer or other deadly diseases.
  • If you believe that cigarettes relax you, remember that nicotine is actually a strong stimulant.  Try taking your pulse before smoking and immediately afterwards. Taking a nicotine hit provides temporary relief for the feelings of anxiety and stress that are caused by nicotine addiction in the first place. If you don’t smoke, you won’t need this to ‘relax’ you.
  • Finally, consider Hypnotherapy to help you to free yourself from the smoking trap forever.  I always advise that you select a CNHC registered Hypnotherapist and that you have a chat with them about the format of their stop smoking sessions before booking.

Finally, know that when you are really and truly ready to stop smoking, it will be easy, because you are giving yourself a precious gift that will last for the rest of your happier, healthier life.

I’d be very interested to hear about your experiences of quitting smoking, please feel free to get in touch via email or on Twitter – see my contacts page.

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