Remember When You First Started Smoking?

No smoker started smoking for the effects of nicotine, and no smoker can tell me what nicotine DOES! So they are not smoking for the effects of nicotine, because they don’t even know what those effects ARE. It is a habit, not “drug use”.

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

This month, the readership of this site has absolutely gone through the roof – and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with Edzard Ernst!  Or at least, not much to do with him.  “Inconsistencies in the Addiction Story” is the page everyone is reading, and despite recent fuss over other pages this remains the most viewed page on the site after the homepage.

Smokers, I hope, are reading this.  Ordinary smokers and particularly those who would really prefer to be non-smokers but they don’t seem to be getting anywhere with willpower (though some do!) or any of the pharmaceutical aids.

Readership of this site has been steadily climbing every month since it was launched in March 2008, but it has suddenly doubled during March 2010, and that’s the post that did it.  The fact is, smokers have been told a load of misleading rubbish about the tobacco habit and far too many of them end up suffering and dying as a result. So a very warm welcome to all the new readers around the globe – read on, you don’t have to buy anything.

Early Smoking Experiences

There is an interesting difference in the way some of the smokers who have no intention of quitting anytime soon describe their early smoking experiences and the way my clients nearly always descibe them.  This shouldn’t surprise us because very few people are thinking positively about tobacco by the time they reach the hypnotherapy stage.

“What made you think of using hypnotherapy to quit?” I ask each new client, which is a way of assessing how many are direct referrals from previous clients, which is most of them.  If not, the usual response is: “Because I’ve tried everything else!”

Naturally, the first time a smoker attempts to quit the habit they are likely to try to do it all by themselves using willpower.  If that doesn’t work they are probably going to have a go with the thing that is most extensively advertised, namely nicotine replacement poisoning (NRT).  If they knew that it had pretty much the same long-term outcome as willpower they probably wouldn’t bother – but most of them do not, because that is a fact the Department of Health were trying to keep to themselves.

Then – once it became obvious NRT had no lasting effect – the smoker might try some of the pills, willpower again, a self-help book with a CD, NRT again in a different form, then eventually find their way to hypnotherapy.  “You’re my last hope!” is an expression hypnotherapists hear every other day.

Sometimes these smokers are beating themselves up about having ‘failed’ so many times.  Not so: they have been given the wrong information, and with the best will in the world thay have been trying to use that information to quit smoking.  It is the method that has failed, not the smoker.  In explaining this point to them, I often compare it to trying to open a combination lock.  If you have been given the wrong information you are going to struggle, and no amount of willpower is going to change that.  If someone suggests that the problem is that you’re just not trying hard enough, or you don’t really want to open the lock, they would be quite wrong.  Equally it might appear to either party as if it were “really difficult” to open a combination lock.  Which it is, if you have the wrong information.

But if you have the right combination, it’s a snap.

Then I explain to these smokers that they are, in fact, typical of the kind of people who successfully quit smoking.  “The ones who do not succeed either keep putting off the attempt – which you never did – only try once or twice and don’t have the heart to go for it again – you evidently don’t lack that – or decide in advance that there’s “no point” trying other methods because the first method didn’t work.  The fact that you’re here proves that you are not that poorly motivated or unimaginative.  In fact,” I conclude, rather to their surprise because they hadn’t really thought of it that way lately, “you are EXACTLY the sort of person who is going to succeed because you clearly won’t settle for anything less!”

That usually perks them up a bit, because right up until that moment they’d been giving themselves a hard time over it.

At some point in the conversation I will ask them to cast their mind back to their earliest smoking experiences, and put the question: “Do you remember why you were doing that, at the time?”  Never once in the ten years I’ve been helping smokers ditch the habit – and we’re talking about thousands of individual smokers here – never once has anyone said: “For the effects of nicotine.”

Next question: “Do you remember how it made you feel when you first learned how to inhale the smoke?”

Now it is not that unusual, if in conversation with a person who isn’t aiming to quit anytime soon, or has an axe to grind about alternative therapy, or is just cheerfully pro-smoking, to hear them declare: “Actually, I really liked it!  Yes, I took to smoking like a duck to water and I didn’t even cough! In fact I love nicotine so much that even during the night I have a couple of patches stuck to my forehead so I can dream that I’m smoking all night long!”

I’m sure you’ve met someone like that, but it is almost unheard of for that person to book a hypnotherapy session.  Nor should they, they’re obviously quite happy the way they are, being all ‘nicotine friendly’. And why not.

No, I only work with people who have already decided that they want to get rid of the habit, and they only give one of two responses to the question: “I don’t remember” or “It made me feel dizzy and sick”.  There are hardly any exceptions to this apart from the relatively few smokers who first tried tobacco when they already had alcohol in their system.  Some of those people will have experienced the effects of inhaling tobacco smoke much more like a ‘high’ than the rest, who just found it a sickening experience they don’t particularly enjoy recalling, so of course some of them don’t recall it.  This is normal – many people who didn’t have a very nice childhood will report that they don’t remember much about their childhood at all.

The Actual Effects of Nicotine

I ask all smoking clients: “Do you know what nicotine actually does?”  I have yet to encounter a smoker who does know.  The most common guess is: “I think it relaxes me, or something…”  Can we find a parallel in real drug use? A heroin user who doesn’t know what heroin does?  A coke-head that doesn’t know what cocaine does?  No, of course not!

If any future client were to confidently announce: “Why, yes!  Nicotine makes my heart beat faster than it should, reduces blood flow to my extremities which causes the poor circulation that can eventually result in amputation, and the combination of these two changes causes a rise in blood pressure.  It also raises blood fats levels, which is useless and possibly a contributory factor in heart disease, and finally it raises the risk of thrombosis!”

…then I would immediately ask them if they imagined for one moment that they were truly smoking for the effects of nicotine.

Smokers smoke because of cravings, that is true.  But cravings are nothing to do with nicotine or anything else in the smoke.  And we get lots of cravings, they’re not all about tobacco.  They are impulses from the Subconscious mind which prompt you to do what you would usually do at that moment or in that situation, and the factor that has confused everybody about cravings is that they are transmitted via the body and they are real physical experiences that can be mild or very unpleasant indeed, and they will always be interpreted as a ‘need’ or a ‘desire’.

If you respond, the signal will cease which is why it has been misinterpreted as a ‘withdrawal symptom’.  If you don’t respond you get another signal and they will often become more frequent and progressively more uncomfortable and distracting because the purpose of the signal is to distract you from what you are thinking about just long enough to recognise what the circumstances suggest (to the subconscious) you should do, and also to ‘prompt’ you to do something other than what you were already doing.  If you don’t respond the subconscious assumes you didn’t notice that signal so it sends another, more insistent one.

If you have made a conscious decision to stop smoking, the Subconscious doesn’t know, so it (quite innocently) keeps sending the reminders which the poor old conscious mind is now trying to ignore using willpower (conscious effort).  The problem with that is that willpower is an extra effort we don’t normally make, so you can’t keep that up.  You can do it for a while, but it is an effort!  And an effort that you cannot sustain so as soon as you run out of steam – or get distracted by something else – the smoking habit is simply reasserted by the Subconscious mind because those conscious efforts didn’t change anything about it, they were simply a temporary conscious effort to repress the behaviour by force.

If I were wrong about all of this, and it were all about drug dependence, addiction and withdrawal then all of my smoking clients would walk out of my office the same way they walked in.  As would the drinkers, the gamblers, the cocaine-users and the chocoholics… but they don’t.  Cravings and habitual behaviours can be shut down in a hypnotherapy session provided the therapist is a successful specialist in those matters and the client is quite happy to be rid of the problem and has chosen the hypnotherapy route willingly.  True withdrawal symptoms can not be shut down in that way.

In Chapter Ten of Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was I define the Compulsive Habit as distinct from addiction which is the big gap in the medical understanding of these matters, which has got all messed up with theories about dopamine etc. because an understanding of the Subconscious mind is not a part of their training, not is it part of our general education but it should be.  We were all raised and educated in the first place with no mention of a subconscious mind, which leads to the current generalised notion that the conscious mind is the mind and it doesn’t really like the idea that there is another one!  Which is why I repeat the observation in the book a number of times that “the conscious mind doesn’t really believe in the Subconscious mind, except perhaps in theory”.

And by extension, doesn’t really believe in hypnotherapy until the results are encountered for real.  It is not a magic trick.  It is not a parlour game. It is not mysterious in any way, it can all be explained and accounted for. It is not remotely dangerous or risky, but stage hypnosis unfortunately makes it look as if it might be which is why that always needs explaining before we start doing any therapy!

Hypnotherapy is often regarded as alternative medicine, which is wrong on two counts. Firstly, it is not alternative because it was officially recognised as a valid therapeutic approach by the BMA and also their American counterparts in the mid-1950s, so it is orthodox and it has been, and is, used in both medicine and dentistry, though nowhere near as often as it would be if it were not for all the misinformation, prejudice, unnecessary fear and ignorant scoffing that we have had to contend with for the last couple of centuries.  Secondly, although it has medical applications hypnotherapy is not medicine, it is 100% communication so it has more in common with educational procedures than medical ones, and the current, almost universal lack of understanding of the Subconscious mind is entirely down to the Subconscious-shaped hole in our traditional models of education.

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Inconsistencies in the ‘Addiction’ Story

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

The Addiction Myth

Yes, it is the case that many smokers find it very difficult to give up smoking.  Cravings can drive you up the wall.  Trying to ignore them can make you very irritable or reduce you to tears.  Smokers can sometimes go to extraordinary lengths to obtain tobacco.

All true.

These facts have often been pointed to as a way of refuting my statements that nicotine is not addictive, tobacco smoking is not drug-taking and cravings are not withdrawal symptoms.  The people mentioning these facts do not know (or simply do not believe) that all those experiences can be shut down in a single hypnotherapy session provided it is conducted properly and the client is content to be rid of the habit.  Before the session, the client may have mixed feelings about that but those matters can be resolved during the session itself as long as the therapist knows what they’re doing.

Let’s leave hypnotherapy aside for the time being and examine the addiction idea. It is equally true that some smokers find it quite easy to stop smoking, and wonder what all the fuss is about.  Some are scarcely bothered by cravings for long periods during the day if they are out shopping, gardening or playing sports. Sometimes smokers run out of cigarettes but can’t be bothered to go to the shop until the following day if it’s raining or just cold outside.  Yet people often say to me: “But isn’t nicotine the most addictive drug in the world?”  Let’s just consider a few curious aspects of that notion.

Point One: Nicotine is the only notable ingredient in Nicotine Replacement Treatment (NRT) Products like patches and gum.  These products are available for sale in any supermarket, right there in the household health products section, aisle 17, alongside the heroin and the crack cocaine.  No sorry, right next to the vitamins and the baby powder.  The “most addictive drug in the world”?  What is it doing there?  It’s not even kept behind the pharmacy desk in the supermarket like baby medicines such as Calpol!

Cigarettes, too, are available for sale in the same supermarket but those have always been for sale in shops, that is not a recent change in the law.  Even so, you cannot just pick them up off the shelf, you have to go to the tobacco counter and ask for them.  Soon they will be hidden under the counter but Nicotine itself – the most addictive drug in the world! – will remain right there on the shelves next to the Olbas Oil and the Kids’ Vitamins.  Doesn’t that strike you as dangerous neglect?  Shouldn’t the most addictive drug in the world be in a restricted zone, or something?  Aren’t unaddicted, non-smoking people being needlessly exposed to the most addictive drug in the world there?  Doesn’t that sort of retail practice suggest that nicotine is no more threatening than the vitamins?  True, they also sell bleach and other potentially dangerous substances, but not for consumption!  And no-one has ever suggested that those were drugs, or ‘therapeutic’ in any way.  The very ordinariness of this mode of presentation does not fit the suggestion that nicotine is the most addictive drug in the world!

Point two: When these products were first licensed, you could only obtain them if you went to your GP, who would check your general health status because it is well known that nicotine is dangerous, especially to anyone with a heart condition and/or high blood pressure.  Somehow that cautious position has been abandoned, as if medical people ceased to care about such things, and nowadays you can just buy it anywhere no matter how much of a risk you might be running.  I have even heard of smokers who are in hospital after a heart attack being given nicotine patches despite the rather obvious fact that they weren’t going to smoke anyway for a while, being laid up in a hospital and very likely scared to death of pushing their luck at that point even if they did have an opportunity to smoke.  Which they don’t, so why anyone with even a modicum of medical training would deliberately feed nicotine into their system at a time like that is beyond rational explanation.  And if a second heart attack resulted from that, I’d say that’s manslaughter.  They certainly wouldn’t give the poor soul anything else that would increase their heart-rate and blood pressure at a moment like that, so why nicotine?

Because of the stupid ‘addiction’ tale.  That is the only reason, and it’s a mistake.

Point Three: When people break into chemist’s shops or pharmacies – to steal real drugs of course – do they ever bother to steal the NRT?  Did you ever encounter a dodgy character in a pub selling knock-off nicotine patches?  No?  Well why not?  The place is full of “nicotine addicts”, isn’t it?  The truth is, no-one does that because no-one wants the stuff, you would have trouble even giving it away.  There is no black market in nicked nicotine whatsoever. I’ve even seen NRT products for sale in Pound Shops! “The most addictive drug in the world”?  Think again.

Knock-off ciggies though?  Now you’re talking!  So it is not nicotine the smoker craves, but their usual habitual object – the cigarette.  Or if they are a pipe smoker, they wouldn’t want a cigarette at all.  If they are an habitual cigar smoker, they wouldn’t want to smoke a pipe and are highly unlikely to do so even if they have no cigars. Do we see heroin addicts being so sniffy about delivery methods when withdrawal kicks in?  No.  Which takes us straight on to:

Point Four: Real habitual drug users usually do not give a damn what form the drug comers in.  If they have the luxury of a choice they will have preferences, but are most unlikely to do without if anything is available that can be abused.  They are notorious for abusing anything from cough medicine to poppers if nothing else is around, but no-one abuses NRT products because there is no buzz, no pleasure to be had.  If you ask a real habitual drug user when they first started using drugs, will they answer that question by telling you when they first started smoking tobacco?  No, they’d never think of that.  They’ll tell you when they first started using drugs.  Totally different thing.

Point Five: Why do we never see youngsters or teenagers abusing NRT products?  If it’s nicotine they’re after, surely it would be easier to sneak around school wearing a patch than risk getting caught with smelly, smoky cigarettes – what a giveaway!  Will we ever hear teachers saying: “Turn out your pockets, sonny – and take off your shirt while I check you for patches!”  No, of course not.  No kid would be seen dead with nicotine patches, what sort of rebellious devil-may-care statement is that?  They wouldn’t bother with them in private either, because nicotine is not what teenage smoking is about.  And when we were 13, we all knew that, too!

Point Six: Cigarette smokers who have run out of cigarettes will often politely refuse the offer of a cigarette from a friend because they dislike that particular brand.  I did that many times myself when I was a smoker.  Much earlier in my smoking career though, I would sometimes find myself searching everywhere for cigarette-ends that might yield enough shreds of tobacco to roll up into a rather pathetic apology for a cigarette, but I certainly never did that after my teenage years.  I also learned through experience that some brands were particularly nauseating to me, so as time went on I would politely decline those even if I had no cigarettes of my own.  What kind of ‘drug addiction’ develops from quite desperate-looking, indiscriminate indulgence to choosiness as time goes on?  Real drug addictions typically develop the opposite way around.

Point Seven: It is quite common to see smokers who have smoked for twenty years who nevertheless only smoke five or six a day, and just as unremarkable for a relatively new smoker to smoke twenty a day or more.  I knew one woman who only ever smoked one a day, just before bed, but did that for decades.  Some smokers only smoke if they go out, or if they are drinking alcohol.  Some people only ever smoke on a special occasion, such as at a wedding reception. “The most addictive drug in the world”?  How are they getting away with it?

Point Eight: Nowadays, few people can smoke at work so quite a lot of smokers don’t smoke all day, then go home and smoke nine or ten cigarettes whilst watching TV.  It’s not like they need NRT to get them through the working day – the only time smokers buy that is if they are trying to quit altogether!  So, are these people unaddicted all day long at work, and then suddenly addicted again in the evening?  Are they ill at work because of this?  No!  They might find that it irritates them when the change  is first introduced and they are obliged to adjust their habitual routine, but very quickly they find that it doesn’t bother them much at all.  Just like the way smokers adjusted quite easily when it was banned on buses, on trains, in theatres and cinemas.  Now that smoking in bars and pubs is no longer an option, many smokers have noticed that the number of times they light up has reduced without them making any effort to reduce it.  Has their “need for nicotine” somehow waned?  Why aren’t the ‘nicotine receptors’ in their brains “going crazy!” like in the TV NRT advert, forcing them outside just as often as they smoked inside the bar?

Because smoking is a compulsive habit, not a drug addiction.  All these are examples from Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was.  There are many more in the book, 400 pages of evidence that clearly demonstrates that the nicotine tale is a lie, and explains what smokers’ cravings really are and how we shut them down in the hypnotherapy session.  I’m not going to re-write the entire book here obviously, anyone who is interested in learning more about that can read it for themselves.  By the way, on the book link above there is a download option to the right of the page that comes up.  You can read the whole thing for just five pounds sterling (less than eight US dollars).

People who attack my book (nearly always without reading it) by citing “scientific studies” are just repeatedly playing the “Everyone knows it’s a drug addiction, and here’s the scientific proof!” card, in the hope that smokers won’t bother to actually read the book for themselves, or closely examine the methodology of the actual ‘scientific’ trials but just assume that nicotine addiction is scientific ‘fact’.  These are the sort of studies that assured us all that Prozac was more effective than placebo, that Champix and Zyban were effective and safe smoking remedies – nay, Wonder Drugs!  Some of the studies that are supposed to prove that nicotine is an addictive substance – collectively known as the animal IVSA tests – are closely analysed in my book and prove to be full of obvious contradictions so they don’t prove any such thing in reality, yet they are still cited by medical bodies like the Royal College of Physicians AS IF they do, because those people are hoping you will just believe them without looking at it any more closely! They are donning the white lab coat and talking down to everybody, taking smokers for fools and it is all because nicotine has become a huge global money-spinner, with smokers and taxpayers picking up the tab.

The ‘addiction’ suggestion/interpretation of tobacco smoking plays a very big part in keeping the whole sorry mess dragging on for decades, and it is time for that fundamental medical error to be revealed as such, so that smokers can stop wasting their time with products that don’t work any better than willpower, and get some proper help for a change.

On a Lighter Note…

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

This development, I am certain, has nothing whatever to do with the Truth Will Out Campaign, but it is a bit ironic: I’ve just been invited to become an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine!

This is because I am involved – to quote the letter – “in one of the many medical and related professions”.  There are several advantages to attaining this status, which the letter goes on to list, including: “The comfort and exclusivity of a ‘Members-only’ Society” – which sounds a bit snobbish to me – “Private fine dining” – which I’m not really into – and “access to one of the most modern medical libraries in Europe”.

Question: Has it got my book in it yet?  it’s called:

Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was

Volume I: The Biggest Medical Mistake of the Twentieth Century

No?  Thought not.  In that case I’ll say: Thanks, but no thanks.  Ask me again when it does, because that will indicate that medical science is finally beginning to catch up with the world of Hypnotherapy.

My name’s Chris Holmes by the way. And if you’ve never heard of my book yet, Doc, don’t worry.  You will. It is the first book ever to prove, by clear, logical argument alone – in other words, scientifically – that the nicotine tale is a lie, and that Nicotine Replacement products are entirely based upon a myth.

Cravings are behavioural impulses controlled by the Subconscious mind which we can easily shut down in hypnotherapy on request, usually in a single session.  Tobacco smoking is entirely a compulsive habit, not a drug addiction and the whole ‘nicotine’ angle is bogus and incorrect, which is the main reason NRT has no long term success outside of the normal willpower range of about 6%.

So you can ignore it if you like, Doc, but smokers aren’t ignoring it! They are reading it in ever-increasing numbers and the reviews are terrific.  In fact I challenge anyone – anyone at all, it doesn’t have to be a smoker because the book is about compulsive habits generally, not just smoking – to read that book cover to cover, and then tell me they still believe in a thing called nicotine addiction.  And that’s why doctors are going to have to address this sooner or later whether they like it or not, because the plain fact is they are wrong.  They are wasting smokers’ time with NRT, and vast sums of money that actually belongs to the taxpayer, and they have the temerity to blame the failure of all that on the smoker.  But the Truth Will Out.

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New Poison For Old!

Now that Harvard University has confirmed Truth Will Out’s claim that Nicotine Replacement products don’t work at all, the race is on to find a new use for the drug giants’ poison factories. So look out for dodgy press tales of things nicotine “might” be useful for, released by the pharmaceutical industry!

Spurious New ‘Uses’ for Nicotine by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes 

Not so long ago this site was blasted in a blog written by one of the passionate converts to the new Electronic Cigarette. He took exception to my statement that nicotine is “just a poison”, and that it has no therapeutic use or any recreational use (there is no high), so it cannot qualify as a drug.

As a hypnotherapist specialising in smoking cessation – which is usually achieved in one session and without any withdrawal symptoms whatsoever – I already know that tobacco smoking is not a drug addiction but a compulsive habit, and that smokers’ cravings have nothing to do with nicotine at all. The reason I wrote the book is to explain this to the world and in doing so, rid the world of the nicotine myth which does a great deal to keep people smoking.

Naturally I did not expect to be congratulated by the drug companies which manufacture nicotine products, because what I am revealing is that their products are entirely based on a myth, which is why they don’t work. Nor was I surprised by the stony silence from the medical profession, many of whom already know that I’m quite right about that, but they cannot admit to being wrong about anything, in case that undermines their imaginary god-like status.

I don’t suppose I expected the tobacco industry to be too chuffed either, since these facts becoming common knowledge would end the vicious circle of smoking, trying the gum, smoking, trying the patches, smoking, trying the lozenges, smoking, trying the little inhalator-thingy… a money-go-round which has propped up many a smoking habit since NRT was invented back in 1984.

I didn’t really expect to be attacked by anyone from the Electronic Cigarette brigade though!

NRT Goes Electric!

You see, I have nothing against the Electronic Cigarette. According to the marketing, it looks like a cigarette, and it handles like a cigarette, but there’s no smoke. This means no nuisance or danger to other people, and as it doesn’t burn anything there is no fire risk. It delivers a little puff of vaporised nicotine when the ‘smoker’ draws on it, and that’s all it does.

Now, since governments all over the world officially endorse nicotine replacement products that do exactly the same thing, you might expect that they’d be all in favour of the Electronic Cigarette. It qualifies as harm reduction compared to smoking tobacco, just like NRT. Just like NRT, it eliminates the considerable fire risk of tobacco smoking. In fact, it simply IS a form of NRT. So Health Departments should be all in favour of it, yes?

Actually NO! And here we can see the corrupting influence of drug companies like Pfizer and GSK at its most blatant and blindingly obvious, because the Electronic Cigarette is not made by them, so there are political moves in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the U.K. to BAN it.
There is no logical reason for that that would not apply equally to all forms of NRT, which are heavily promoted and funded by the same governments. This has nothing to do with medical matters or health concerns, it is entirely an attempt by the makers of NRT products to pull every political string they can to protect their market against fair competition. It is a corrupt abuse of the political systems of all the countries where it is going on – so although the Electronic Cigarette is every bit as useless as any other form of NRT when it comes to long-term cessation success, I am all in favour of it remaining legal.

Nicotine Has No Use

What my attacker was actually objecting to was the fact that I challenged the notion that nicotine was a drug of any sort, and my assertion that it was actually only a poison. He didn’t bother to read my argument in full, he just picked up on that point and ridiculed it, so I took him to task about this. He then listed a whole bunch of spurious notions about supposed ‘benefits’ related to nicotine, some of which were just wrong but also quite a few which referred to recent scientific studies which ‘suggest’ that nicotine might have all manner of future ‘medical’ applications!

I pointed out to the chap that my observation that nicotine HAS no medical application is in no way undermined by the possibility that one day it MIGHT have, so reference to such speculative, inconclusive studies certainly doesn’t prove me wrong, as he suggested it did. But it did alert me to the curious fact that quite a lot of research has been done over the last few years to see if the poison nicotine might possibly have some other application, as well as fraudulently posing as a medication (NRT) and leading poor, unsuspecting smokers a merry dance.

Now, do you suppose the drug companies – who plan and fund all of these ‘scientific’ investigations, of course – might be doing the same thing with cyanide, mercury, arsenic and a clutch of other poisons… just to see, you understand, if they might actually have some sort of medical application, despite the stark unlikelihood of it?

Probably not, eh? But they do have rather a lot of patch-making equipment and they already have the nicotine production-lines rolling, so just in case the smokers of the world suddenly realise that this mad hypnotist (that’s me, by the way) might be quite right about smoking not being a nicotine addiction after all, perhaps it would be a good idea to see if they can line up some other dubious ‘medical’ application for that worldwide poison factory.

So watch out for any stories popping up in the press reporting that “New studies SUGGEST that nicotine COULD help to prevent eyebrow hair from growing out of control, or gallstones from growing quite as fast as they otherwise would, or improve post-operative joint mobility…”

Anything, really. Absolutely any old use will do. Surely it must do something useful… what about memory, might it improve memory? Concentration? Appetite control? Tremor-reduction? Come on, THINK! We’ve got tons of the stuff, and all this machinery… those smokers aren’t going to be fooled by our misinformation forever! NICOTINE NEEDS A MEDICO-MAKEOVER, NOW! FOR GOD’S SAKE, THERE MUST BE SOMETHING USEFUL IT CAN DO!

Nope. Just a poison, mate. Just the same old useless poison. Give it up.

Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was

The easiest, safest and most successful way to quit smoking tobacco

A Simple Test to Prove that Nicotine Isn’t Addictive

How to run a clinical trial using nicotine patches to prove that nicotine cannot possibly be an addictive drug.

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

I’ve noticed that on all the Champix blogs, where people are describing the suffering they are going through on that horrible ‘medication’, some bright spark will always pop up explaining that you should expect it to be difficult and traumatic, for after all, as we all know – don’t we? – nicotine is ‘the most addictive substance known to science’! The most addictive drug in the world, so of course this is withdrawal!

What rubbish. The tension and stress is real enough, but it has nothing to do with nicotine at all. If it did – if that were the inevitable physical result of nicotine being abruptly withdrawn – then a). it would happen to every smoker who ever quit by preference – which it doesn’t, as the U.S. Surgeon-General has already pointed out. Most ex-smokers in the world actually quit by themselves, and if there was any link with suicide attempts it would be obvious by now. It would be a routine observation, resulting in conversations like this:

“Did you hear? Ernie’s quit smoking!”

“Rather him than me! That’ll be another funeral then.”

“You reckon?”

“Oh, aye – just cast your mind back over the years, all those people you know who quit smoking one week, then they’re found hanging from the rafters the next…”

[That would be a laughable suggestion, Pfizer, if that cynical attempt to muddy the waters were not such cruel and self-serving dishonesty which will certainly lead to more suicides.]

…and b). smokers who quit with hypnotherapy would still feel like that too, since that is immediate cessation. In reality they feel perfectly normal: no withdrawal symptoms, no cravings, no mood swings, no over-eating and no weight-gain either.

A Serious Challenge for the Scientists

There is a simple way to test this, but you can bet your life that GlaxoSmithKline are never going to run this clinical trial! Here is the experiment to prove nicotine is not an addictive substance:

Take any number of non-smokers (with full consent of course). Apply nicotine patches daily to those people, for as long as you would expect any smoker to develop a habit if you were giving them cigarettes. Get them to keep a diary of how they feel from one day to the next, and see if they can perceive any benefit from nicotine at all. Then one day, tell them the trial is over. Watch for any signs of suffering.

In order to get the most accurate impression of what nicotine itself actually does, without any pre-conceived notions in their minds (expectation), it is important that the volunteers are not told this is nicotine, and are not ex-smokers who might recognise the presence of nicotine. It is also important that they do not have to apply the patch themselves, nor do they know how long the trial will be. They should not be told what to expect, just asked for their genuine observations, if any.

N.B.: It is vital that the N.R.T. mode is PATCHES, not gum or lozenges. This is because smoking, sucking and chewing can all develop a compulsive-habitual element because they are physical activities that can become habitual through repetition, whereas patch-wearing is not an activity. So there is no behaviour, there is only the nicotine itself. Even the application of the patch in the morning cannot become habitual behaviour (like the impulse to put the kettle on in the morning, because that is what you do every morning), because someone else is doing it for them.

So we are down to nicotine itself. I predict the following outcomes: a). the subject will not enjoy the effect of nicotine in any way, although they may become accustomed to it. Conversely, they may react against it with something like an allergic reaction, b). they will be unable to describe any useful benefit from nicotine, and c). they will be quite happy to stop, and it will prove literally impossible to create a “nicotine addict” that way. This will prove once and for all that nicotine is not an addictive drug – nor is it medicinal, therapeutic or even a recreational drug. It is just a poison – one of many poisons in the smoke – and the wrong explanation for the compulsive smoking habit.

The key point here is that smokers’ cravings are not withdrawal symptoms, and are not connected to nicotine in any way. We get lots of cravings, they are not all about tobacco. They are impulses produced by the brain but routed through the body, so they are experienced as if they were a bodily need, or a desire. In reality it is a prompt, and what the impulse from the Subconscious mind is prompting the smoker to do is pick up a cigarette and light it.

If the smoker does that, the feeling disappears. Instantly. Notice that the smoker does not have to smoke the cigarette and get all the nicotine out of it for that impulse to go away, it vanishes the moment they light up. If they do not respond by lighting up, the Subconscious sends another, more insistent signal – assuming the first one went unnoticed – and these prompts will become more frequent and more insistent until the smoker finally responds. This can result in real, physical agitation and mental distress, with the smoker often convinced by the feelings that the ‘need’ has become desperate. Add to that the commonly-held belief that this agitation is the result of a drug addiction, and you have the seemingly helpless predicament of the modern habitual smoker.

In hypnotherapy we shut the craving signals down easily, and get rid of the false ‘addiction’ belief. Hey presto, one non-smoker. Yes, I know it sounds too easy: everything we do in hypnotherapy sounds too easy because hypnotherapy doesn’t involve any effort. Everything the Subconscious mind does is without apparent effort – which is interesting, because we are certainly aware of making conscious efforts. Like the conscious effort (willpower) to ignore craving signals sent by the Subconscious via the body. Guess which has the most clout, conscious or Subconscious? That’s right – hence the capital S.

Wouldn’t this Test make a great T.V. Documentary?

Anyone out there an independent documentary-maker? Want to make a fascinating programme that would be easy and cheap to make, which would interest millions of smokers in every country of the world, proving to all those smokers once and for all that they are not drug addicts at all? Not making wild claims – proving it! I’ve already been on TV with this, but that was just a live breakfast show where you get three minutes to talk about it before they move to the weather – you can’t prove much with that kind of slot. Although I did succeed easily with the challenge they set me to eliminate a smoking habit in a member of their staff. That wasn’t a stage trick by the way, it was a proper two-hour hypnotherapy session (see my blogpost from 28th March 2008 entitled Channel M Television). All craving signals wiped out in two hours. No urge to smoke, no extra eating, no weight gain. No ‘addictive drug’ involved.

want to quit the habit the easy way?

A Direct Challenge

Nicotine Replacement doesn’t work at all in the long run (Harvard University) yet smokers are still being encouraged to waste their precious time with them, to no avail, when hypnotherapy would save many of them immediately.

by Chris Holmes, Senior Registered Hypnotherapist (GHR) and Smoking Cessation Specialist

More and more people are telling me privately that lots of people who work within the National Health Services know perfectly well that Nicotine Replacement Therapy does not work for more than 90% of smokers in the long run, and do not believe precious resources should be wasted on it. The only reason they are not speaking up, I’m told, is fear. They are afraid to voice an opinion because they might then be regarded by management as a troublemaker or whistle-blower.

If that is true, then thousands of smokers are dying needlessly and many more are at risk of serious illness, having their time and taxpayers’ millions wasted on bogus therapies. Lies are being told about success rates to persuade more smokers to use these products (see the Evidence section on this site), and the real failure rate covered up. This is not healthcare, it is fraud, and it is costing many lives.

Nicotine Replacement doesn’t work because the whole theory of nicotine addiction is bogus anyway. It’s a compulsive habit. It is not “both an addiction and a habit”, as the latest NRT promotion spin would have you believe. I know that for sure, because if it was, hypnotherapy would not eliminate the problem.

Just about every working day, for years now, I have eliminated smoking habits (including tobacco and cannabis habits) with hypnotherapy – wiping out cravings, and preventing weight gain, and without the need for willpower. A complete return to normal, usually in a single session. It’s not a trick – the book explains exactly how it all works. Even if some of those people return to smoking later – as some do – we can stop it again, no problem. It’s a complete cure, and that is precisely because it never was a drug addiction but a compulsive habit, just like gambling. No drug involved, and we eliminate these behaviours without reference to dopamine, seretonin or ‘nicotine receptors’ in the brain too, which kind of makes you wonder what relevance those theories have in reality, especially since that was the ‘science’ that gave us Prozac. **Update, Jan. 2012: Psychiatrists admit the seratonin tale is bullshit! **

I am issuing a direct challenge to the NHS and the Department of Health, calling for them to scrap NRT and Zyban, because their real long-term success rates are so low that they function very poorly even within the normal placebo range, and it is beginning to look as if everybody knows it but they are just wishing it wasn’t so, and hoping I’ll get all disillusioned and go away.  **Update Jan.2012:  Scientists at Harvard University finally prove me right!**

Every day I get more determined to stop this scandalous waste of life and resources. Do you agree? Do you not agree? Can we have more comments posted on the site please, so visitors can hear other voices too? I am particularly interested in comments from those working in medical roles, but all comments are welcome.

My satisfied clients are always asking me: “Why can’t we get hypnotherapy on the National Health?” A very good question! It is time for doctors and nurses who also think that’s a fair question to start making their feelings known perhaps. If everyone speaks up, then there’ll be more whistle-blowers than non-whistle-blowers!

Far too many chemicals and hardly any therapists – that’s a drug service, not a HEALTH service. But nicotine is a poison, and no-one should be prescribed poisons, it’s insane!

By the way, if you are simply afraid to speak out because of the potential repercussions, don’t forget you can do so here anonymously – and in any case, you can help out covertly by spreading the word: Truth Will Out!

Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was

More about hypnotherapy

Internet Kills Doctor

by Chris Holmes

Personally I think the Internet is a wonderful thing in many respects, but I got emails today from internet pharmacies that are practically boasting that you can cut out the medical advice and just buy anything you want! Someone calling themselves Heinig put this in the Subject line:

“Prescriptions are a thing of the past”

and the message within was:

“Discover more pages of kamasutra with the help of magic blue pills”

Magic pills, eh? Isn’t this ironic? Anyone who has already read the “Trust me, I’m a Doctor” section of this site will see the irony of that. First you get people to accept the idea that there is a pill for every ill through the invocation of the “trustworthiness” of “medical science”, then you do away with the actual medics, who might be unnecessarily cautious about who to prescribe it to, and sell it direct by email worldwide.

Healthcare? This mass-medication has nothing to do with health, but western medical science has helped to create a monster – the pharmaceutical industry – which is now on the rampage around the globe. This was another message in the same batch this morning:

Subject: “Hundreds of doctors advise this”

Yeah? Well, what further recommendation or reassurance do you need, eh? Here was the message inside, word for word:

“You can purchase anything and everything that you always wanted to ask your doctor for.”

Everything? Even the stuff you know damn well he wouldn’t give you, which is why you didn’t ask him but “always wanted to”?

Well it could hardly be any clearer, could it? Forget Colombia, forget the poppy fields of Afghanistan. The producers of pharmaceuticals are supplying the customer direct, so now you don’t need the drug-dealer and you don’t need the doctor either, and these pseudo-medical profiteers are even bold enough to say so. We’ve reached the stage at which they are so cocky, they can take the piss out of the medical profession by claiming:

“Hundreds of doctors advise this”!

Now, here’s the really mad bit. Doctors most certainly do not “advise” that you buy drugs through the internet, because if everyone did that, they would be sitting in their consulting rooms all by themselves. But doctors certainly have been prescribing these very medications, which could be construed as a recommendation of sorts, which allows that cheeky phrase above to be at least partially true.

So doctors are being used, but left out! They are still being invoked as a reassuring selling-point, albeit in a very off-hand way, but without being involved any more, which means they are helping to facilitate the sale (in their absence), but earning nothing from that transaction at any stage. Pretty galling, eh?

It’s all there, in that wild expression: “Prescriptions are a thing of the past”. If that is the case, then so are doctors – they just haven’t quite realised it yet. They really haven’t, because the main point doctors have wanted the public to grasp so far, when it comes to internet drugs, is that some of the may be ‘fake’. Really? Like NRT is, you mean? Like Prozac? Sorry – are we talking real fake medications here, or bogus fake medications?

I’m confused. If you buy NRT from an internet source, and it doesn’t work, is that because it is real NRT or because it isn’t? The only way we could find out would be to do a big scientific study using internet NRT exclusively, to see if it only fails 94% of smokers by the end of the year – in which case it was the real thing, hooray! Or more than 94%, in which case it was a bad medicine, a bogus fake disreputable fraud, which doctors would not prescribe.

Because no doctor would prescribe NRT products that failed more than 94% of smokers in the long run. They draw the line at 94% failure. That’s the kind of medical standard which you just do not get with the internet, and that’s why we still need doctors.

Hope we’re all clear on that now.  If you just want to be free of the smoking habit, though, click here to discover why you don’t need either of ’em.

The Truth About Smoking

I first became fully aware that smoking was not a drug addiction six or seven years ago. My smoking clients would walk in to my office ‘unable’ to stop smoking, and walk out free. How could that be, if they really were addicted to, or dependent on, a drug called nicotine?
The answer was simple: they were not. Nor is it a ‘psychological addiction’ – a nonsense term, since the ‘logical’ part of the mind (the conscious mind) is not really involved. No, it is entirely a compulsive habit, and it can be easily eliminated by effective hypnotherapy – just like any other compulsive habit.

by Chris Holmes

I first became fully aware that smoking was not a drug addiction six or seven years ago. My smoking clients would walk in to my office ‘unable’ to stop smoking, and walk out free. How could that be, if they really were addicted to, or dependent on, a drug called nicotine?

The answer was simple: they were not. Nor is it a ‘psychological addiction’ – a nonsense term, since the ‘logical’ part of the mind (the conscious mind) is not really involved. No, it is entirely a compulsive habit, and it can be easily eliminated by effective hypnotherapy – just like any other compulsive habit. The medical people who insist otherwise are either ignorant of the reality – which is bad, since they are handing out advice and products based on that ignorant notion – or they know that ‘nicotine addiction’ is bogus, but they don’t want the public to realise it, which is far worse.

I knew that before I could challenge the pharmaceutical giants, the medical authorities and the Department of Health here in the U.K., I would have to assemble some pretty damning evidence and get it out there where they cannot suppress it, so that is what I’ve done. The first stage was to write and publish the bookNicotine: The Drug That Never Was.

Then I went to the newspapers. Initially I just sent them information, assuming one of them would sense a story and get back to me for more details. I sent detailed information to news and media organisations, and kept a record of all those I have alerted so far. In truth I saw this as the first wave, I wasn’t expecting much from it, because everybody’s immediate knee-jerk reaction is “Huh? Nicotine isn’t a drug? Who’s this idiot?”

The local paper (Stockport Express) did do an article though, and my email address was published with it. I fully expected a backlash from medical people – GPs, pharmacists, people who work for the NHS Stop Smoking Services. It was inconceivable they didn’t hear about it, it was in papers that were delivered to thousands of homes in the Stockport area. Here I was, calling for NRT to be scrapped by the NHS, declaring that it doesn’t work for 94% of smokers. You would think that someone would be standing up for NRT, saying: “How dare you, who do you think you are?” etc, but no. Not a word, the silence was deafening.

Recently I mentioned this to one of my clients, who is a nurse. She shook her head, and said: “They won’t. They know.”

This rather telling comment implies that the only reason the medical profession has not abandoned Nicotine Replacement Poisoning is because to do so now – after recommending and endorsing it for so long, and wasting vast sums of public money on it (though, to be fair, that was a government decision) – would be an embarrassing U-turn they would rather avoid.  So to avoid admitting that they were wrong, they are quite prepared to let thousands of smokers die by sticking to a failed policy, and waste vast sums of cash, that could actually be saving lives elsewhere, on the pointless production of a poison which has no genuine therapeutic application whatsoever, and performs very poorly even within the normal placebo range.

Chris Holmes has been Director of Central Hypnotherapy, Stockport, England UK since August 2000
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