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Quitting Smoking
by Geoffrey Knight, MA LLM DCH DHP MAICH
Geoffrey Knight

High success rate

But, you have to come to me wanting to give up smoking. Hypnosis is all about change. If you're not prepared to change your mind set, then it is a waste of your time and money.

The general public is aware that if you want to quit smoking, the remedy that most immediately comes to mind is to consult a hypnotherapist. Hypnosis is, however, only one of the many methods available but, in my humble opinion, it is the most effective way to quit the habit.

You can see a counselor or an acupuncturist, wear nicotine patches or chew nicotine gum; or you can smoke your cigarettes through a special holder and filter. I could continue with a long list of alternative remedies and the people willing to treat you with them some effective and some useless.

Smoking is horrible

Smoking is a horrible habit. I am very well aware of how horrible it is because, for twenty years, I smoked up to 40 cigarettes a day. I stopped when I went to a fellow hypnotherapist who practices in England and asked him to do me a favor by hypnotizing me. From that day I haven't been tempted to touch a single cigarette.


Reason for success

The reason it has been so successful with me is because my colleague imposed amnesia when I was in hypnosis, and no other therapy, to my knowledge, can do this. From that day I never thought about smoking; I forgot about it completely. I never feel an urge to pick up a pack of cigarettes or the need to accept one when offered. I automatically say: "No thanks, I'm a non-smoker."

While I was under hypnosis, my colleague also imposed an aversion to cigarette smoke and the awful smell of stale smoke on your breath and in your clothes. I don't object if someone comes to my home and smokes a cigarette, as a lot of my friends put up with my smoking habit for many years. I do, however, open all the doors and windows immediately after they have left; I am aware of the odious smell until it departs.

Health improved

My health has improved. I no longer cough up great lumps of phlegm when I wake up in the morning, nor am I short of breath. In fact, I didn't realize how toxic nicotine is until I started to help people quit smoking. Nicotine contains acetone, DDT, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde and carbon monoxide together with a whole host of other nasty chemicals. I have a particular horror of getting cancer of the throat.

One session

I tell my clients that it only takes one session of hypnotherapy lasting about two hours to quit smoking.

My follow-up research shows that my success rate is of the order of about 85 percent. I often treat a husband and wife together, or a group of friends or work colleagues.

Group therapy very powerful and cost-effective

Group therapy is very powerful; I have treated up to twelve people at once in a single session. Of course, charges are discounted for individuals in a group of people receiving hypnotherapy at the same time.


I start off a "quit smoking" session with a questionnaire and a talk about smoking and how quitting can affect, for the better, the individual concerned. Few people realize that the death rate from cancer caused by smoking is one person every five minutes; this is more than road accidents, AIDS, drug abuse, suicides and alcohol put together.

Once they become aware of the statistics, this knowledge helps people start to change their mind set. In order to achieve lasting effect, I need to put the client in deep hypnosis. This takes time especially if you have never been hypnotized before.

After about an hour-and-a-quarter of hypnosis, most clients emerge never wanting to touch a cigarette again. Many tell me the experience felt as if it took only five minutes. As they leave the room, I have to remind them to throw into my waste basket the lighter and half empty pack still lingering in their pockets.

Geoffrey Knight is a British hypnotherapist who has recently made Portland his home. He can be reached at (503) 246-7300, 2387 NW Kearney St, Portland, OR 97210.