So, it all comes to do you want to quit smoking. And can you? Absolutely, you can. But, hey, sometimes I've got clients who come into my office, and they said, "Well, yeah, you know, I've quit smoking before," "Oh, well, if you've quit smoking, why do you need to see me?" "Yeah, yeah, but I started up again." So, I always ask, "Well, did you quit smoking, or did you just take a temporary vacation, a temporary hiatus from it?" They're like, "I see what you did there. Yeah, I just took a vacation from it." So I asked him, "Do you want to take a little vacation, or do you just want to stop?" And they're like, "Well, I just want to stop." And if you do wanna stop, then it can become really, really easy.
Because the interesting thing about this and about cigarettes is this. Two days, 48 hours, after smoking your last cigarette, 95% of all that nicotine, even if it was remotely physiologically addictive, is out of your system. So, in two days, if it is physiologically addictive on any conceivable level, well, in two days, it's gone. So, the interesting thing then becomes what happens to the person who goes a week, a month, 6 months, a year, 2 years, 5 years, 10 years with no smokes, no smoking a replacement apparatus, like patches, like gum, like e-cigarettes. What happens to those people that start smoking again?
And what I noticed with some of the work that I did with people, that after about the nine-month mark a couple of years ago I noticed a little trend, is some clients, past clients, would email me or call me like, "Luke, I need to come and see you again for another top-up session to stop smoking," and I'd always ask, "Well, what happened?" They'd come into my office, and the story always essentially went like this, "I was doing great for nine months. I got to about nine months, and I'm like, 'You know what, I used to smoke two packs a day. Now, I'm on zero. I've got it licked. I've got it under control. I never have to do this anymore. So, you know what, if I just light up one smoke, that's not gonna hurt me in any way, shape, or form. I can prove that. I've done it for nine months now. So I just wanna smoke here or there. I think I'd like that.'"
And what do they do? They switch that switch to on again, and the habit starts, because, you see, you're either a smoker or you're not a smoker. It's very, very digital. It's a yes-no. It's not a sliding scale. It's not analog. So, we know, in two days of your last cigarette, then up to 95% of that nicotine has left your system. After eight hours of your last cigarette, extra carbon monoxide has left your blood. After five days after your last cigarette, most of the nicotine has left your system if not all of it by this point.
After one week, your senses of taste and smell improve. After one month, skin appearance is likely to improve. After three months, your lung function begins to improve. After one year, the average smoker has saved themselves about three-and-a-half grand each and every year. After 12 months, after a year, your risk of heart disease has halved. And after 5 to 15 years, your risk of stroke has declined to that of a nonsmoker. So, let me ask you, truly, do you still believe that you're physiologically addicted to cigarettes, to nicotine?
The interesting thing was about 10 years ago the AMA, American Medical Association, they put together this rather daunting report. It's about 656 pages. You can probably find it online somewhere. It's horrendous to read. But basically what the American Medical Association did is they got the best neuroscientists, addiction specialists, psychiatrists, and doctors altogether and put together this report. They threw tens of millions of dollars at this research study, and it was to prove once and for all is nicotine physiologically addictive.
And after 10 years of research, tens of millions of dollars, the smartest people in the world, do you know what they concluded? It's not. It's not physiologically addictive. Can it be emotionally addictive? Totally. Can it be a nasty habit to kick if you don't have the right tools? Absofreakinlutely. But hypnosis can help you with all of those things.
Let me ask you another question, why do you believe that smoking cigarettes is physiologically addictive? Many people say, "Well, it's addictive. Well, maybe. Everyone tells me. Everyone tells me. The TV, the radio tell me it's addictive. I see these commercials for patches, for e-cigarettes, for inhalers and what have you, for gum, and it says it's gonna help to wean me off of this." The media told you that. And hasn't the media always told you the truth about everything?
The interesting thing is this, patches and gum have about a 9% to 11% success rate. Counseling sessions, when it comes to stopping smoking, whether that be one-on-one group, they have about 15% to, I believe, 18% success rate. A generic audio recording of hypnosis that you could find anywhere, you could find it free on YouTube, for quitting smoking has about 30% success rate. That doesn't sound a lot, does it? But compared to everything else, it's 100% or 200% more powerful.
Now, the kind of work that a very good hypnotist will do will use many different forms of hypnosis. And the study conducted by the Practice Builders partnership in the United Kingdom in, I believe, 2002 was over a couple of year...actually, I believe they were a two to five-year period. They saw literally thousands of people who want to quit smoking, and they recorded the attractor [SP] results. They followed up with the people for up to two years after their session, and it was based on one session.
And, of the couple of thousand people they saw between them, the Practice Builders, they had a 95% success rate of people who still remained nonsmokers based on using a very advanced form of hypnosis. That was about 15, 16 years ago. Hypnosis has advanced, mind sciences has advanced an awful lot since then. So, hypnosis is really, really powerful for helping you to deal with becoming a nonsmoker.
And I always ask my clients, "Do you want to become a nonsmoker, or do you wanna become an ex-smoker?" They're like, "Well, what's difference, Luke? What's the difference, HypnoPunk?" And I'll say, "Well, see, the ex-smoker is always waiting to smoke again." There's always that time where, "When I get stressed, when I fall off that wagon, I'm gonna light up a cigarette." And they're always waiting for that date to fail up, to fuck up, whether that's a day later, a week later, a month later, a year later, hell, whether it's 10 years later, whereas the nonsmoker is committed to themselves, that they're done. They've drawn the line out of it. They're finished with it. Its folly. Just don't do it anymore. They've ended the suffering, because they've committed, "I just don't do this anymore."
And, well, there's always been things that we've outgrown in life. Now, I don't know when you were young, but there's perhaps this type of music, or a song, or a group that you liked as a teenager that you readily did truly love him. You listened to him, that song, that group, that artist. But as you grew older, as a mature adult, you don't like that song anymore. Now, you still acknowledge that "Yeah, I used to listen to that song, that group, that song. I used to really like it," but now it's like really silly, really stupid, because you grew up.
And I don't know if when you were a kid there was a toy, a figurine that you used to play with, whether it's He-Man, whether it's Cabbage Patch dolls, My Little Ponies, but as you grew older, as you grew up to be a mature adult, you didn't keep playing with those toys. Now, you don't deny that you used to do it, because you did as a kid, but at some point you grew out of it. You can grow out of smoking as well.
Perhaps when you were younger, as a teenager, there's a style of clothing you had, whether that was flare jeans or you wore fleeces. That's fine. It was just a cool and groovy thing to be. But now you won't be seen dead wearing those outfits, because you just grew out of it. It's just not the star. It's not who you are now. So too can you grow out of smoking. Because, you see, smoking is something that children do. It's not something that adults do.
Or probably the 5,000 people one-on-one in groups that I've met and helped become non-smokers, I've never met a person who had their very first puff of a cigarette after the age of 22. Now, I've had people that had a puff of a cigarette in their teenage years and didn't start up a full-time habit till their mid to late 20s. I've had that before. But, in over 5,000 cases, I have never met and I've yet to meet that person who started their very first puff of a cigarette as an adult. They all did it in their teenage years or even younger, because, see, smoking is something that children do. It's not something that adults do.
Because this is a smoker, and I say this to smokers, whether you are or not. I say to the adult smokers that come to my office asking for help, "If you knew then what you knew now about smoking, about cigarettes, would you do the same thing, or would you choose a different course of action? Would you choose to take that first smoke, or would you just say no?" And 99.99% of the time, the answer is an unequivocal "No, of course, I won't do it." Because, you see, smoking is something that children do. It's not something that adults do.
So, with good hypnosis or any change work, you can really literally take away that pattern and replace it with something far more positive, far more advantageous to you. Because, you see, the reason you smoke, some people say, "Well, it calms me. It relaxes me," yadda yadda yadda. There's always a reason for your smoking. See, if you just stop smoking cold turkey or use a patch or gum when you try and wean yourself out, and I've never met someone who weaned themselves from a pack a day, half a pack a day tend to go straight to zero and stay to zero. I'm yet to meet that person. Weaning yourself completely off cigarettes does not work in my experience of doing this for 20 years and working, again, with over 5,000 people. It just simply doesn't work.
So, again, I ask you, do you believe that smoking is physiologically addictive? Now, what happens oftentimes is, if you don't replace the smoking habit with a advantageous positive habit, it will rear its ugly head. It's almost like pulling out a weed from the garden but not planting a beautiful plant or flower in its place to grow back. If you don't do that, the weed will grow back. So whenever a good hypnotist or change worker will work with you in helping you get rid of smoking, they'll help you to pull out that weed, to get rid of it once and for all and yet replace it with another equally but actually equally positive habit in its place, whether that be drinking more water, whether that be meditating more, listening to self-hypnosis, going for a walk, exercising more, but doing something so you'll get the same benefit to be transferred over to that new activity, and you won't have to do your old activity anymore.
So, the only thing that you're actually losing is that nasty habit of smoking, that cancer stick, and not whatever positive benefits you're getting from it. Because make no mistake about it, whatever your problem is, whether it's a smoker, the person who overeats, the person who anxieties themselves, or the person who depresses themselves on some unconscious level, they're getting a payoff from it. It's what we call secondary game.
Now, now, now, I'm not saying that you're deliberately sitting around consciously saying you wanna do this. I'm talking about the unconscious mind, that five-year-old that controls all your emotions, that controls all your thoughts, that controls your body functions, that braves you. I'm talking about that part. So, I ask you, do you still believe that smoking is physiologically addictive for you? I'm going to share one story before I wrap it up today, before we wrap up this episode of Unstuck with HypnoPunk here today, Transformation with Edge!, and it's this.
A few months ago, I had a chap that came to see me, very, very nice chap, to quit smoking, and he came in, and we did one session. This tends to be how I deal with smoking with people. A couple of weeks after our session, I sent him an email just to check up on him, and I asked him, "How you doing?" And he wrote me back the same but said, "Hey, thanks, Luke, for following up. To be honest, I don't really feel that that hypnosis worked. I didn't feel that I was on there. I didn't feel that I was hypnotized. But because I'm such a cheap bastard and spent all that money with you, I told my wife, 'Oh, you know what, I'm just not gonna do it. That hypnosis didn't work, but, you know what, I'm just not gonna smoke anymore.' So, thanks for your help. Thanks for taking the time to follow up and help me. I don't think I'll use hypnosis again, because it didn't really help. But I'm not smoking. Thanks very much. Bye." And it was one of my favorite testimonials of all time. See, quite frankly, I don't care if a client credits me for their change or not as long as they don't do the behavior anymore.
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Luke Michael Howard Ph.D
Clinical Hypnotist Toronto