Advertising and news reports hypnotize smokers

Smokers are told over and over that it is hard to quit smoking. Not just hard, but almost impossible! The withdrawal symptoms and side-effects from quitting smoking are listed in graphic, horrific detail.

by Irene Conlan — 

As a hypnotherapist, I have helped many, many people stop smoking and remain non-smokers. But the challenge has been growing more and more difficult, and I just realized why. Smokers are told over and over that it is hard to quit smoking. Not just hard, but almost impossible! The withdrawal symptoms and side-effects from quitting smoking are listed in graphic, horrific detail.

Surprisingly, these hypnotic suggestions are not made by the tobacco companies. They are made by those who want you to buy their products to aid your stop-smoking efforts. These companies say things like “Smoking is the hardest addiction to end,” therefore, you should buy my product. “The side effects and withdrawal symptoms of quitting the smoking habit are horrendous,” so you need my product. “It’s almost impossible to stop smoking,” and if you don’t have my product, you will never be successful.

This is compounded by news stories that discuss the harmful effects of smoking and how nearly impossible it is to quit. With the smoking issue recently on the ballot and passing in several states, there is increasing news coverage about the harmful effects of smoking and how difficult it is to quit.

If you search the Internet for products to help you stop your smoking habit, you will find statements such as the following:

  • “Product A naturally eliminates the insomnia, tension, irritability, weight gain, nervousness, fatigue and other uncomfortable, even painful cravings and side-effects of nicotine addiction.”
  • “The ingredients in Product B have been proven to improve your mood and your ability to carry out your daily routine; decrease symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, exhaustion and poor sleep; increase circulation to your brain and other parts of your body; and may exert protective action on your nerve cells.”
  • “Insomnia … tension … irritability … weight gain … nervousness … fatigue — these are just a few of the uncomfortable and even painful symptoms most quitters experience.”

Just one or two of these suggestions is enough to make most people cry “uncle” and race toward their hidden “emergency” pack of cigarettes. Many people are afraid to quit because they have been told it is a difficult challenge; that nicotine is an extremely addictive substance and that some researchers feel it is as addicting as cocaine and heroin; that far too many people have tried to quit, and failed, because of its highly addictive nature. Do you think these people would be interested in a method that is guaranteed to work?

With all these messages about the challenges of quitting imprinted on our minds, how easy is it for the smoker to make the decision to quit? How many products would one have to buy, apply or ingest before they felt they would be safe from those advertised side-effects? Do not let yourself be hypnotized by the media and the companies that want you to buy, buy, buy.

If you want to quit, begin now with positive self talk. “I can quit easily and end the habit once and for all.” “Stopping the smoking habit will be as easy for me as it was to start.” “I can remain relaxed and focused while stopping the smoking habit.” “I am stronger than nicotine and the smoking habit.”

Then decide which method is best for you — from “cold turkey” to hypnosis or a patch to medication — and get started with stopping. You can do it.

 

Irene Conlan has a master’s degree in nursing, is a certified hypnotherapist and a certified past life regression therapist in Scottsdale, Ariz. www.theselfimprovementblog.com, iconlan@cox.net.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 6, December 2006/January 2007.

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