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 If it did – if that were the inevitable physical result of nicotine being abruptly withdrawn – then a).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.”
“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.