All smokers can benefit from using hypnosis to help them stop smoking and remain smoke-free

World Smokefree Day is on 31 May – if you are keen to stop smoking then hypnosis could be the secret weapon you’ve been searching for.

In last week's blog I explained how trance is a natural state of consciousness. Everyone experiences trance in moments of daydreaming, intense concentration, and when entering and exiting sleep. Psychologists, hypnotists and people in general, refer to these experiences as ‘trances’. These everyday trances are our natural learning state. We need to be focused and free of distractions to learn something new. When in a trance, we adopt a learning mind-set and our brain becomes receptive to new thoughts and ideas. When a person chooses to experience an everyday trance intentionally, and with a specific goal in mind e.g. to become a non-smoker, we call the trance ‘hypnosis’. Contrary to what many people think when we experience hypnosis we don’t go unconscious, have total amnesia, or surrender control because we're just experiencing a goal directed everyday trance.

Because trance is our natural learning state, utilizing it (in the form of hypnosis) to help break unwanted habits, such as smoking, makes perfect sense. The effectiveness of hypnosis for smoking cessation is also supported by research (see below).

Some of key things that need to happen for you  to stop smoking permanently

The smoking habit is a complex issue involving mind-set, beliefs, conditioned responses, addiction, stress, and anxiety. Add to this mix, the fact that each of us is unique and stopping smoking can be quite a challenge. Here are some of the key things that need to happen for you to become a non-smoker.

You have to want to stop smoking and be 100% committed to doing so

The majority of the people who seek my help to stop smoking have already made the conscious decision to stop smoking. They are 100% committed to making it happen and are ready to stop completely, immediately. It's so much easier to stop completely when you're feeling motivated to do it.

The Habit Pattern - breaking the habitual behaviour

Much of smoking addiction is a mental attachment to the regular routine of smoking. Hypnosis is an effective way to change thinking and behavioral habits. Once we understand your daily smoking routine and rituals and identify the smoking triggers in the environment that prompt you to smoke, we can set about changing the routine, the rituals, and removing the triggers.

Building on Previous Successes

If you've successfully stopped smoking previously, we'll explore that experience to discover what you did that helped you to stop, so you can draw on that experience to help you stop smoking now.

Understanding the truth about Nicotine 'Addiction'

Understanding how nicotine impacts on the mind and body helps most people to let go of the fear of living without their nicotine ‘fix.’

After you've smoked that last cigarette, depending on how long you've been smoking, and on how heavily you used to smoke, the effects of nicotine on your brain wears off anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. The nicotine will however, take between one to three days to disappear from your bloodstream. Then, you're nicotine free!

Withdrawal Symptoms and Urges

As soon as you put out the last cigarette, your body will start to come back to its normal state again,  in reaction to which, you may feel some withdrawal symptoms. I say may because lots of people don't experience any symptoms. For those that do, there are lots of easy, effective, strategies that can be used to remove, or reduce, any feelings of discomfort.

Addressing Stress

Stress is an issue for many people, not just smokers, but many smokers reach for a cigarette in the belief that it helps to relieve stress. In fact it does the opposite as it puts your body under stress.

I believe that the ability to reduce, and manage, stress is fundamental to an individual’s long term freedom from cigarettes. You need to build a toolkit of easy, practical and healthy ways to manage stress such as physical activity and meditation.

How many 'Hypnosis for Stop Smoking' sessions does it take to become smoke free?

My approach is based on research.  In particular, a study (Holroyd 1980) concluded that more sessions of smoking cessation hypnotherapy is more effective than fewer sessions. The study also suggested that individual tailoring of a stop smoking treatment for a client was better than treating every client the same and that additional support including phone contact and supportive coaching also increased the likelihood of success. With these things in place, over 50% of those helped had still not smoked when followed up after 6 months, according to this study.

My own approach is to provide three and a half hours of coaching/hypnosis spread over three sessions with additional sessions available if needed. However, I tailor my approach to each, unique, individual. Some people may require more sessions particularly if stress is a key trigger for their smoking.

Prior to the first session I provide written resources that explain the benefits of becoming a non-smoker. I also set the individual tasks to complete to prime them to become a non-smoker. Following each session I provide written and recorded resources to reinforce the changes made. Post session support is provided, plus I follow up with the individual at intervals to assure their long-term success.

Is success Guaranteed?

The simple, and honest, answer is no, but research studies consistently show that compared to other stop smoking approaches, hypnosis delivers better and more effective results.

Success depends on many variables including your motivation and commitment to change and the level of stress you are experiencing. While some hypnotists claim an impressive 90% plus, success rate, research studies put the actual success rate for smoking cessation hypnotherapy at somewhere between 50% and 88%. I've included some of the most recent and authoritative research on the effectiveness of hypnosis for smoking cessation in the section at the bottom of this post.


So are you Ready to Stop Smoking?

If you’d like to explore how I can help you to stop smoking and become smoke free for life, call me on 021 056 8389 , email or use the Book Now button below to schedule your complimentary "Prepare to Stop Smoking" session . In this complimentary 30 minute session you'll learn the secret to becoming a non-smoker forever and the steps you need to take prior to your "Stop Smoking day" to pave the way for success.

REMEMBER - "When you change your mind you change your life."

Go well


Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise lies in helping people to 'change their minds' so they overcome limiting beliefs and unhelpful habits and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Research on the Effectiveness of Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation

Here are five empirical based research studies on the effectiveness of hypnosis for smoking cessation. They show that hypnosis is not a miracle treatment for smoking cessation but they do support its effectiveness in helping people to stop smoking and to remain smoke free.

In 1974, Hunt and Bespalec put together a study comparing half a dozen methods of stopping smoking. They investigated aversive conditioning; drug therapy; education and group support; hypnosis; behaviour modification; and miscellaneous, including self-control, role- playing, and combination treatments. It was their conclusion that hypnosis “perhaps gives us our best results” (p. 435), though they did record success rates that varied between 15% and 88%.

Hunt, W., & Bespalec, D. (1974). An evaluation of current methods of modifying smoking behaviors. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 30, 431-438.

A study by (Holroyd 1980) concluded that more sessions of smoking cessation hypnotherapy is more effective than fewer sessions. The study also suggested that individual tailoring of a stop smoking treatment for a client was better than treating every client the same and that additional support including phone contact and supportive counselling also increased the likelihood of success. With these things in place, over 50% of those helped had still not smoked when followed up after 6 months, according to this study.

Holroyd, J. (1980). Hypnosis treatment for smoking: An evaluative review. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 28(4), 341-357.

Viswesvaran and Schmidt (1992) conducted a meta-analysis on 633 studies of smoking cessation which included 48 studies in the hypnosis category which they investigated. This also had a total number of 6,020 participants (which is impressive). Hypnosis proved to be better and more effective than just about every other treatment it was compared to including nicotine replacement therapy and aversion techniques.

Viswesvaran, C., & Schmidt, F. (1992) A meta-analytic comparison of the effectiveness of smoking cessation methods. Journal of Applied Psychology, 77, 554-561.

The most impressive and seemingly thorough review of the effectiveness of hypnosis for smoking cessation in existence today is from the year 2000 conducted by Green and Lynn. In it, they examined 59 stop smoking studies and drew the conclusion that when measured against Chambless and Hollon’s (1998) criteria of evaluation for the empirical support of diverse psychotherapies, hypnosis was a “possibly efficacious” treatment for smoking cessation.

Green, J. P., Lynn, S. J. (2000). Hypnosis and suggestion-based approaches to smoking cessation: An examination of the evidence. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 48, 195-224.

4 hypnotherapy trials (273) were included in a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that reported abstinence at 6 or 12 months. Results indicated a positive association of hypnotherapy with successful outcomes.
Tahiri, M., Mottillo, S., Joseph, L., Pilote, L., & Eisenberg, M. J. (2012). Alternative Smoking Cessation Aids: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. The American Journal of Medicine, 125(6), 576-584.