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Smoking - The Myth of Addiction

The Myth of Addiction is the reason many smokers don't attempt to give up, or give up giving up at the first twinge of a thought about smoking. The most popular aspect of this Myth is that nicotine is more addictive than heroine. Smokers love this one. It gives them permission to just carry on killing themselves.

What we are talking about here is a physiological addiction a need by the body itself. When a heroine addict's body needs a fix, it needs a fix. It doesn't matter whether the body is asleep or awake, and the need, the physical suffering, gets worse the longer the body has to wait. It doesn't matter that it's inconvenient right now, as long as the drug is withheld, the suffering intensifies.

I live in the UK and a great many of my customers holiday in US and Caribbean resorts - this entails 10 or 12-hour transatlantic non-smoking flights. I've never once had anyone who couldnt manage that flight without a cigarette, or who chooses holiday destinations based on flight length. Oh! Yes as soon as they get into a space where they're allowed to smoke they light up, but it isn't a problem during the flight because they've told their body it just isn't allowed so forget it. And their body forgets it for the duration of the flight.

I've treated smokers who smoke 40 a day. Not one of them is woken from their 8 hour sleep by a body craving for nicotine. Yes they light up almost as soon as they get out of bed, but they weren't woken up by a need.

Heroine addicts are driven by their pain to commit crimes like robbery in order to satisfy their craving. It's unheard for an otherwise law-abiding smoker to rob because they haven't got the cash right now for a packet of cigarettes.

There is another aspect of clinical addiction that is conveniently ignored by those with a vested interested in smoking i.e. tobacco companies, and drug companies peddling drug-based solutions that require you to continue to purchase their product. This aspect is habituation. When you introduce a drug into a body and continue to put that drug into a body the body habituates. That is the body gets used to the drug and so the effect of the drug lessens. This causes a physiological need for an increase in dose in order to maintain the effects of the drug. This is why addictive substances are addictive because you need more and more.

Cigarette smokers tend to smoke the same number of cigarettes per day for decades!!!!

What cigarette smoking is is a habit.

That's all, just a habit.

That doesn't mean it's easy to break. Nail biters know this only too well. But it does mean that the problem is only a problem of the mind, not a problem of the body. If a smoker can tell his or her body not to have any need for a cigarette while they sit in a plane for half a day, why can't they give their body that same message about sitting at home, or driving or having a meal or socialising?

This is because a habit has a trigger. The trigger is usually environmental. Picking up the phone, getting in the car, finishing a meal, getting up, having tea or coffee, sitting in the pub, commercial breaks during tv programs, boredom, being with other smokers these are all environmental triggers.

If you're a driver you've probably experienced the effect of these environmental habit triggers. A driver who is a front seat passenger will often discover their foot pressing the brake when someone cuts in front of the car they are not driving. Or if you've got in a car where the controls are reversed you might have found yourself turning on headlights instead of wipers. Non-drivers don't need to feel left out, just think about those times you were watching action films, fast cars, fight sequences and so on and realising that you were tensing muscles as if you were part of the action.

The real problem is that smokers don't want to give up because they believe it gives them pleasure, and the addiction myth is the defence against those who would have them give up something pleasurable that makes their life tolerable.

Breaking the habit is easy:

A meta-analysis of 600 studies of around 72,000 smokers who used different methods to quit found that hypnotherapy is consistently the most successful way to become a non-smoker. (New Scientist, 1992)

Hypnotherapy is the most effective means by which people quit the smoking habit

(Iowa University study)

Michael J. Hadfield MBSCH is a registered clinical hypnotherapist. You can experience his unique style on a popular range of hypnosis CD's and tapes at Here you can also obtain treatment for a variety of problems and explore his approach to health, healing, and hypnosis.

Related Links:

Dangers of Cigarette Smoking

Smoking - Habit or Addiction (Part 1)

A Psychological Approach To Quit Smoking

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