It's all in the mind if you want to quit smoking

PUBLISHED: 19:44 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 19:47 20 August 2019

Norfolk smokers can try and quit by attending a free hypnosis trial in Norwich in September

Norfolk smokers can try and quit by attending a free hypnosis trial in Norwich in September


Norfolk-based therapist James Brittain explains how hypnotherapy can help the millions of people who want to quit smoking

Smoking is still causing almost 80,000 deaths and bringing in 484,700 hospital admissions each year according to the Office of National Statistics. It may become socially less acceptable and the numbers of smokers may have dropped by 1.6 million in the last six years but there are still 9 million smokers in the UK.

The sad thing is that, six out of 10 want to give up. Many try, some succeed, most fail. Smoke Free Norfolk say you are four times more likely to be successful if you seek help (look them up at They have a smart calculator which shows how much money you can save each year by giving up. They report a success rate of around 50%, with a cost of between £500 and £600 per quitter, however as smoking costs the NHS around £2 billion per year, This is a small price to pay.

A first port of call might be your GP. You might be given nicotine replacement therapy, or a drug like Champix which does the job of blocking the nicotine receptors in the brain, so that when you smoke the pleasure 
of smoking is eliminated. Or 
you might choose to vape instead, this is supposed to be 95% less dangerous than smoking, though research into the harmful effects of E cigarettes is ongoing?

Hypnotherapy has been shown to be an effective, safe, cheap treatment with permanent results however dependent on you having motivation to give up, rather than letting yourself be forced into it by someone else.

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Hypnotherapists are not magicians. They can't make you do anything that you don't want to. Your brain is too powerful for that and has the ability to reject suggestions just as much as it can accept them. Hypnosis is a do with, not a do to process. There is no known negative side effect to hypnosis. This is because all hypnosis is self hypnosis. It doesn't happen without your permission. Yet there remains a mystery surrounding hypnosis, though in essence it is a strange name for something we do naturally every day. It happens when we focus intently on something and go into a deep daydream, as when we become totally absorbed by a TV programme or a piece of music.

Hypnosis works as an effective treatment for quitting smoking because when we smoke we are already employing a hypnotic suggestion that it's time for a cigarette, cigar, pipe or something less legal. Hypnotherapy can Work on replacing these signals so that we don't light up, but do something which would be far more beneficial and ultimately rewarding.

Most hypnotherapists charge in the region of £200 to help you to kick the habit (I charge £150) which is roughly the cost of 15 to 25 packets of cigarettes. Work it out on the Smoke Free Norfolk calculator, if you smoke 20 a day, you probably spend between £3,000 and £4,000 a year on cigarettes. A hypnotherapist would be able to Help you get yourself free of the habit with two sessions.

The success of the treatment is permanent if you choose to be a lasting non-smoker (you can always change your mind) because it teaches you to be a non smoker without thinking about it. The behaviour becomes unconscious.

When you quit smoking, your energy and health will improve. After as little as 48 hours the harmful carbon monoxide leaves your body and the blood circulation improves over two to 12 weeks. In one year your chance of having a heart attack is halved, in 15 years it is the same as a non-smoker and in 10 years the chance of developing lung cancer is halved. For most of us the biggest motivator is the improved quality and length of time you can spend with your friends, family, children and grandchildren.

If you want to find out more about hypnosis come along to the Wensum Sports Centre on the September 19 at 6pm for a free demonstration of hypnosis. email or call 07789181244.

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