All about smoking
What is it about smoking?
why do we smoke when we know it’s no good for us?
I believe that the two most common reasons for starting to smoke are introduced to the smoker in their early teens. Normally by way of experimentation the individual attempts to fit in via psychosocial drives in order to belong. During this period it would have been important for the individual to appear to be grown up or looking slightly tougher and perhaps following their friends in this new trend, after all we all conformed to trends growing up, fashion, music tastes for example. Philip Morris, the tobacco mogul behind such brands as Marlboro believed that smoking as a youngster was sending the message “I am no longer my mothers child”, and I think this is very true.
I also believe that during this same period youngsters may also start to become rebellious by nature turning to things that their parents may disapprove of, experimenting with certain things that are categorised as forbidden, with cigarettes being both illegal to sell to the under 18’s and certainly frowned upon by their elders, it can be an obvious choice to the rebellious teen. And as in both cases the initial phases of the experimentation are soon overpowered by the pharmacological factors that the individual links between habit and addiction.
Most smokers continue to smoke, even if their desire to do so has diminished and this is more likely to be linked with the habitual nature of smoking rather than just the addiction alone. For most smokers the ritualistic behaviour associated with their habit is extremely strong, linking a number of sensory characteristics, the image of the packet, the physical contact with the cigarette, the odour of the smoke for example. With this comes the perception by the smoker that they may encounter a number of problems should they quit the habit; what will they do with their hands? Will they turn to food to feed the cravings and ultimately become overweight? Some smokers may fear that they will become irritable and stressed. All of these concerns for the smoker are very real to them as they all indicate major change in their life and there are those who actually fear change the most.
According to the “Office for national statistics” 17% of smokers lit their first cigarette within 5 minutes of waking. Those smokers of 20 cigarettes a day or more where far more likely to spark up immediately upon waking, in fact 35% would do so as compared to only 3% of those who smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes per day.
What are the risks?
There are many medical conditions associated with the side effects of smoking, be it cigarettes, cigars or a pipe. But tobacco products can exacerbate certain medical complaints. Asthma is probably the number one danger as the lungs are compromised by the narrowing of the bronchial tubes affecting the airways, often producing more mucus than normal, cigarette smoke contains sticky tar which travels directly into the lungs furthering the constriction of the small bronchial tubes.
Optic Neuritis is often associated with Multiple Sclerosis and is an inflammation of the optic nerve, which serves the retina at the back of the eye. This causes the sufferer to experience blurred vision and some loss or all colour vision. Smoking produces a number of toxins one of which is Cyanide and this is proven to be damaging to the retina. Smoking is also a major factor in adult macular degeneration.
Multiple sclerosis has already been briefly referred to. But smoking makes the symptoms of MS worse. MS is a disease of the central nervous system and causes the body to lose a fatty material called myelin, which serves to protect the nerves of the body, by acting like insulation around an electrical cable. The loss of myelin causes the electrical impulses from the brain to be interrupted causing delay to the motor or movement responses within the body. In 2009 there was a study lead by the ‘Partners multiple sclerosis centre of Harvard and Brigham’ in the US. This study showed that there is an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis among smokers and that the progressiveness of the disease was far greater in those patients who smoked than in those who didn’t. The results of the study also suggest that those patients who experienced relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, where in greater danger of secondary progressive development.
It needs to be your choice to quit!
Sometimes a client may turn up to the consulting room saying that they want to quit smoking, but upon further questioning it becomes apparent that they have been told to give up the habit by a third party but actually they don’t really want to quit just yet. This type of client will be far more difficult to deal with than a client who has sought my help by his or her own volition. Your commitment to stopping smoking may be a lot lower but asking the right kind of questions in a supportive manner and listening to you may help you reach a more personal decision. You, perhaps, may be dissenting of the wishes of family members resenting interference or being told what to do. However, there may actually be an underlying wish for the smoker to stop and quit the habit but this decision needs to come from you and no one else. The fact that you have taken the time to research a good hypnotherapist is positive enough but the true commitment of you, the client, is required for the cessation session to be effective. Once you have made that decision, the power to succeed is handed back to you. Running through the pre talk (see separate section here) and highlighting the risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting, along with any financial gains may be enough to satisfy the client to make up their own mind. After all, we all know the gains of quitting and we all know the disadvantages of carrying on, you just need to be 100% certain that quitting is what you want!