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.

hypnotherapy info

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

Dept Stealth 6 – The NHS Lie Exposed!

Well thanks to Mr Cameron Gordon of the Department of Health I have now had a chance to study carefully the various reports that he claims are the scientific basis for the famous advertising slogan that smokers are “up to four times more likely to quit” if they use NHS Stop Smoking Services.

In email communications with Belinda Cunnison, of campaign group freedom2choose, Mr Gordon went out of his way to point out – for no reason I can really fathom – that the claim was not “four times more likely”, but “UP TO four times more likely”.  Well, okay Cameron!  If you say so.  But surely, if you are going to use the words “four times more likely” it is going to be assumed that, at some point, the science actually demonstrated that in a way which justifies that wording, and the massive amount of spending that it supposedly validates.

The Reports

There are three reports which the Department of Health claim to form the basis for the chosen wording in NHS promotional material.  The first, generally referred to as the Ferguson report, I already talked about in the last post.  This was supposed to demonstrate that the long-term outcomes of the NHS services reached a 15% success rate, which they certainly do not in reality.  In fact, 20% of the original sample group had been disqualified before the results were assessed, largely to weed out the smokers least likely to succeed.  This is not scientific, it is cherry-picking and makes a nonsense of the final conclusion.

The other reports provided by the Department of Stealth were the Borland report and the Hughes report, the latter also helpfully including summaries of 6 other studies into long-term success-rates of untreated smokers – in other words, people who just quit by themselves without using any services or products..

The largest ever meta-analysis of quit methods, carried out by the University of Iowa in 1992, found that the figure for willpower alone was 6%.  The largest of the studies mentioned in the Hughes report was carried out by Cohen et al, and the sample was 5000 smokers.  They found 5% not smoking at 6 months, falling to 4% at twelve months – a fairly similar result.

Now, do you remember what I said in the last post, about drug companies using the sneaky tactic in drug trials of running a number of small trials – rather than one big one – because random variations in small numbers makes a big difference to percentages? Well, just look at what happens to that 4% figure when that 5000 sample comes down to just 235 smokers, as it does in the smallest of the studies mentioned in Hughes, carried out by Garvey et al in 1992: 14% still not smoking after 6 months, falling to 13% at twelve months.  (These are untreated smokers.)

Now, which trial are you going to have more faith in: one which looked at 5000 smokers, or one which looked at 235?    These trials don’t even involve drugs, yet it is obvious that all that baloney about “randomised, controlled trials” spouted by groups like ASH and the drug companies (same thing, really) is marketing posing as science, because you only have to leave out some of the details in your press-releases and you can get the newspapers innocently reporting “success rates” in percentages in “scientific trials” which will bear no relation to the outcomes when the drug is used by hundreds of thousands of people.

An earlier study by Hughes et al, also from 1992 and summarised in the 2003 report provided by the Department of Health used a sample of 630, and straight away the success rate dropped again, this time to 3% at 6 months (no figure given for 12 months).  This clearly indicates that all you have to do, if you want to get a figure higher than 13% is take the sample size even lower than 235 people, do a few trials concurrently and then hype the results from the one that happened to produce the best percentage rate.

Take this to its logical conclusion and you end up with a success rate of 100% eventually, from a properly conducted scientific trial involving just one lonely smoker who happened to get lucky.

Back to the actual reports

So we learned from Hughes that the Iowa report had the willpower figure about right, between 4% and 6%.  All the big samples showed that. It was only the tiny trials that looked different, so obviously we need to be skeptical about percentage success rates if we are not being told how many people were involved in the trial group showing that percentage.

The Borland report, though, is the most damning of the lot. It set out to show that smokers should be referred to Quitline services by GPs, rather than treated in-practice, because the report does show a slight difference in the long-term results.  But this report is a classic example of how scientific studies can end up being used to back up policies that are utterly bonkers simply because they manage to show “a result”!  Already we have seen that a study which apparently found “a result” of 7% success for over-the-counter nicotine replacement – 1% more effective than willpower! – led to a “scientific conclusion” that it was therefore “pharmacologically efficacious”, so I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised by the daft conclusions of the Borland report.  But first, the all-important results at one-year follow-up:

The Borland report found a marked lack of enthusiasm amongst GPs even to get involved in the trial, and I can’t say I blame them.  I feel really sorry for GPs for being obliged to have anything to do with the whole smoking issue, really.  And I have yet to meet any experienced GP who has any faith at all in nicotine replacement therapy of any kind.  So the proposed sample of 1500 smokers never really materialised, and they ended up with only 1039.  Some were treated in-practice, with support only from their GP.  The rest were referred to NHS Stop Smoking Services for supposedly “expert” help.

What they found, at 12 month follow up, was that the in-practice treatment scored a mere 2.6% success at one year, whereas the Stop Smoking Services delivered a pathetic 6.5%. [**Update, 2010: Last year, these services cost the UK taxpayer £84,000,000.] And then they actually concluded: “Where suitable services exist, we recommend that referral become the normal strategy for management of smoking cessation in general practice”.

Seriously folks, I ask you: is it possible to believe that anyone – any collective group of people – could be so unutterably stupid as to recommend the continuation of either of those approaches to smoking cessation, at the taxpayer’s expense, based on failure rates of 93.5% and 97.4% respectively?  Also, what happened to the supposed 15% success rate claimed by the Ferguson report?  Gone – reduced to 6.5% at best. This proves that the report was flawed and misleading and should never again be cited to market NRT products or NHS services.  No wonder they buried it.

Finally, if the University of Iowa report found 6% for willpoer over very large sample numbers, as did Cohen (4%), then how is 6.5% “up to four times more likely to succeed”?

The fact is that it is not.

At the start of the Truth Will Out Campaign in March 2008, I reported that smokers were being lied to about the effectiveness of these services and drug company products, and I reproduced in the Evidence section of this site published NHS and DoH documents that claimed up to 90% success rates for short-term results (4 weeks), but did not report at all on long-term outcomes.  When they finally did, they claimed 15% success at one year, which I have now proved is also very misleading.

I said, right from the very beginning, that it was 94% failure. Thank you Borland et al, you just officially confirmed it.

Did someone say recently the NHS needed to save some money? Then scrap NRT.  Ditch Champix before it kills anyone else – it doesn’t work for 86% of smokers anyway.  Zyban has also killed people. Scrap the NHS Stop Smoking Services and divert that precious NHS cash into things that everyone agrees the NHS is actually good at. Smoking cessation clearly isn’t one of them. In fact, the government should STOP wasting public money on trying to encourage smokers to quit. Smokers don’t feel inclined to do what their GOVERNMENT wants them to do! Don’t you guys know ANYTHING about the psychology of smoking? Check the facts: the number of smokers in the UK was declining FASTER before this stupid policy was introduced!

Right now we have Primary Care Trusts cutting back on vital, SUCCESSFUL services, yet proposing to waste even more resources on this humiliating flop! WHY?

For God’s sake, spend the money on much-needed lifesaving equipment like dialysis machines – policy decisions you can defend honestly. Leave smokers to take responsibility for their own lifestyle choices, and the majority of them will – just like they were doing before the Blair government decided to waste hundreds of millions only to end up SLOWING the rate of positive change!

For anyone who simply wants to ditch the tobacco habit – now that no-one can afford the ridiculous tax rate on it, here in the UK – here’s the facts: the best methods are also the safest: hypnotherapy, the Allen Carr method (which is hypnotherapy anyway, really) and acupuncture. All risk-free. No governments involved – hooray!

Central Hypnotherapy (Smoking Cessation Specialist since August 2000)

Dept. Stealth 5: The Great N.H.S. Lie (Updated)

“You are up to four times more likely to succeed” in stopping smoking if you use NHS Stop Smoking services, that’s what smokers have been told by the Department of Stealth and NHS bosses.

As I have already demonstrated in the Evidence section of this site, for years the NHS published “success rates” with figures ranging from 53% as a national average, right up to 90% in the case of a Kent PCT, which is obviously about as misleading as you can get.  These figures were based on “self-report at four weeks”, which bears no relation whatever to real long-term outcomes.

To put this simply, the only figure that genuinely indicates success is the long-term outcome.  For years, drug companies have got away with a cynical trick when getting medications approved: if they can get any results at all that look like effectiveness, they halt the trial early – or only do fairly short trials anyway – to hopefully get the medication rubber-stamped on the basis of that short-term effect only.  Since this proves nothing about long-term outcomes, it is a bogus basis for approval but drug companies have denied a profit motive, claiming instead that their true motivation is to “get help to patients as fast as possible”.  Yeah, I’m welling up, here.

Another trick they frequently use is to do a number of little trials using fairly small numbers of people in each, because by sheer chance the numbers showing a response will vary, so inevitably one group will have more people showing a response than any of the others. They then convert that small number of persons into a percentage – which makes the number seem higher! For example: if there were six trial groups, each with twelve members, and one of those groups happened to hit a success high of six people out of that twelve, this then becomes reported as a “50% success rate in clinical trials” – all the other trial groups are then ignored, and this becomes the only result mentioned in press releases, as if it were the sort of success rate that could be expected of the medication in general use, which of course it is not. This is how Champix first appeared in the newspapers with a ‘success rate’ of 44% attached to it.  Less successful trials may not even be reported to approvals bodies at all, which is exactly what happened with the trials that actually showed that Prozac was no more effective than the placebo (dummy pill) – evidence witheld from the FDA at the time, just to cheat the approval system.

These sneaky methods of gaining approval can also fail to pick up dangerous side-effects, sometimes because the numbers being tested are so small, and especially the side-effects caused by long-term use, which is why the horrific side-effects of Champix/Chantix didn’t show up properly in the original trials.  With incredible callousness, the manufacturer Pfizer has since claimed that there is ‘no evidence of a causal link’ on the basis that it didn’t show up in the trials!

In my personal opinion, that kind of cynical chicanery is so dishonest that those responsible should be imprisoned for it.  Doctors are still prescribing it, people are still dying, Pfizer are making vast fortunes and denying all responsibility.  They know perfectly well there’s a serious problem, but their primary objective is to rake in the cash, and fast, before the drug gets withdrawn by the safety regulators.

The Official Claim for Long-Term Success

Incredibly, the Department of Health waited five years before they decided it might be a good idea to have a look at the long-term results of their enormously expensive policy of providing nicotine replacement products and Zyban to any of the 12 million smokers in the U.K. who felt like having a pop at ditching the habit. By this time they had paid the drug companies hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money, but without bothering to check if any of this was really making a difference.

The English smoking treatment services: one-year outcomes was published in 2005 in the journal Addiction, which is the journal of the Society for the Study of Addiction. Finding a copy of this has not been easy – I have been searching for it on the internet for years, but without success.  It was dead easy to find loud pronouncements about those short-term (useless) figures, but when it came to the real outcomes, the DoH and the NHS were not just hiding their light under a bushel, they were doing their best to bury it beneath the Earth’s crust.

What I did find on the internet, without too much difficulty, were secondary references to the findings of the report into one-year outcomes – now usually referred to as the Ferguson report. These claimed that the outcomes at 52 weeks were 15% still not smoking.  Those of us well-acquainted with this field were immediately suspicious of that figure, as it was about double the success rates indicated by various other, independent sources that all seemed to agree that the true figure is between 6% and 8%.

When I wrote about this is Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was, I speculated that the use of the phrase “15% remain quit” might have been a clever twist, suggesting 15% of the total treated but actually referring to only 15% of the 53% (average) that had reported success at four weeks – which works out at about 8% of the total. but that is not what they did.

*********Updated bit!**********

What they actually did was to start off with a sample of 2564 smokers, which was whittled down to 2069 for various reasons before the results were analysed.  In other words, almost 20% of the smokers were disqualified from the study before the outcomes were assessed.

Now, a few of these disqualifications were for what I would call valid reasons.  A total of 8 of them were under sixteen, and were therefore illicit smokers at that stage anyway.  Obviously it would be unreasonable to expect them to respond well to services designed for adult smokers seeking to quit of their own volition. A further 92 were excluded for reasons that were basically accidental, including some follow-up data being withheld on data-protection grounds, and also simple “clerical error”.

I have no problem with any of that.  No, it’s the other 395 people who were excluded that I have a problem with.  The reasons for excluding these people were:

“no overall consent to research involvement”

“incomplete postcode”, and

“cases with valid value count less than 21”.

Now, before I explain the ‘valid value count’, let’s just look at those other two reasons. “Incomplete postcode” smacks of IT system incompatibility, so it may have been inevitable in practice, but ask yourself this: What kind of smoker fails to supply a full postcode? Those that cannot be bothered to respond properly to health service standard procedures.  Poor motivation, lackadaisical attitude, a bit uncooperative – that would be about right, wouldn’t it? And indeed, the same could be said for “No overall consent to research involvement”, could it not?  So aren’t they effectively cherry-picking here, weeding out the probable no-hopers? That’s going to get their success-rate up a bit, for sure!

A smoker’s ‘valid’ value

Now, when it comes to my hypnotherapy practice, one smoker is as valid as another, it’s as simple as that.  But when it comes to manufacturing ‘scientific evidence’ that will be used to justify giving hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to big drug companies, it really isn’t simple at all, apparently.  In fact it gets pretty complicated, as well as highly questionable.  Smokers may be a little surprised – and perhaps a little put out – to learn that their “validity” might be variable when compared to other smokers, but it is clear from the Ferguson report that this is indeed the case.

In assessing this ‘validity’ factor, some of the things taken into account by the points-scoring system may surely raise an eyebrow, as they include: gender, race, whether education finished at sixteen, single parent or not, current household members, time between waking and first cigarette, number of cigarettes smoked per day, age started regular smoking, previous attempts to stop recently, ease/difficulty abstaining for a whole day, whether there is anyone to support client to stop smoking… the list goes on.

So if a smoker has a low points-score on these factors – and I’d love to know what points-differential race and gender variations counts as, wouldn’t you? I mean, is discrimination there even legal? – then they are regarded as having insufficient “valid value”, and disqualified from inclusion in the preferred sample of 2069.  This is simply because they are pre-judged as being less likely to succeed, so although they might still be offered help, better to leave them out of the official “success at one year” report, because they’ll probably spoil it… cherry-picking for sure!

************… more soon!************

(Just want to quit smoking? Click here.)

The Department of Stealth 4

So we finally got a response from the Department of Health that was supposed to give us access to the ‘scientific’ reports that they claim underpin the suggestion that smokers are “up to four times more likely to be successful” in quitting if they use NHS services to help them.

This came in the form of an email, sent to Belinda Cunnison of the freedom2choose organisation, who are opposing some of the recent petty smoking regulations.

Anti-Smoking Legislation
Ok, while we’re on the subject, here’s my take on that. In my view, the law that banned smoking in enclosed public spaces was bound to happen, and there are convincing public health arguments for that. Banning tobacco promotion was also long overdue.

All the other measures – raising the legal age for purchase to eighteen, forcing shops to put tobacco under the counter, further restrictions on smoking anywhere on the grounds of hospitals, prisons etc. – this is all counter-productive. This just brings out the rebel in smokers, many of whom will have started smoking in the first place because they were told not to. Smokers just feel got-at now, and that doesn’t motivate anyone to quit, does it? Who knows, maybe that is actually deliberate. I wouldn’t be at all surprised, because the government don’t really want to have to look somewhere else for all that tax revenue, do they?

The Information Provided
Mr Cameron Gordon of the Department of Health included in his email to Belinda four links to relevant information, and two attached reports, which he hoped (or so he said) would help us. I shall take these one at a time.

Link 1 took us to the Tobacco Control page of the British Medical Journal, but to actually read the article concerned you have to be a subscriber to the BMJ or be able to log in through your medical institution. Perhaps Cameron didn’t realise it, but Belinda doesn’t subscribe to the BMJ and is not a medic, so she couldn’t gain access to that article and neither could I. Cheers Cameron, Link 1 was a really big help.

Link 2 was to Wiley InterScience (I love that name!) the American publisher of the Journal Addiction which is where the ‘missing’ report into NHS long-term outcomes was originally published. Obviously, this meant that almost nobody ever saw it or heard of it, whereas in contrast the short-term (4 week) outcomes were trumpeted all over the web.

Three sections of this report particularly interested us, and I managed to print off a copy of the first one: The English smoking treatment services: one-year outcomes.
The other two failed to print off, instead all I got in each case was a completely black page, which emptied my black printer-cartridge. Thanks.

The third link took us to the BMJ again, so of course we couldn’t read the whole article, but we did get a summary. The report was “A meta-analysis of the efficacy of over-the-counter nicotine replacement”. It begins:

Objective: To determine whether over-the-counter (OTC) nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is pharmacologically efficacious, whether it produces abstinence rates similar to those in prescription settings, and to estimate the long term (that is, greater than six month) abstinence rate with OTC NRT.
Method: Systematic literature review.

This report found as follows:

“The long term (that is, greater than six months) quit rates for over-the-counter NRT was 1% and 6% in two studies and 8–11% in five other studies. These results were not homogenous; however, when combined the estimated odds ratio was 7%”.

They then concluded thus:

“Conclusions: Over-the-counter NRT is pharmacologically efficacious and produces modest quit rates similar to that seen in real world prescription practice.”

Now, from the evidence reproduced in the Evidence section of this site (and in the book) we know that the largest ever meta-analysis of quit methods that was carried out at the University of Iowa in 1992 put the quit-rate for willpower alone at 6%. Here we have scientific evidence that the quit rate for over-the-counter nicotine replacement is 7%. That 1% difference officially qualifies the product as “pharmacologically efficacious”.

What a staggeringly blatant con that is. What extraordinary barefaced cheek, to pass that off as a bona fide success rate. Do you think for one moment that the public would bother with that method if they had been told the truth about it?

But wait! Didn’t they just say “modest quit rates similar to that seen in real world prescription practice”? Does that mean the failure-rate is pretty much the same if smokers get NRT via the NHS? And if so, what would that suggest about the claim in NHS advertising about smokers being “up to four times more likely” etc? I have three more reports to wade through before I can comment more precisely on that.

Meanwhile, the fourth link took us to the Cochrane Library, which was very exciting because just about every sweeping dismissal of complementary therapies I have ever seen refers to one Cochrane Review or other, so obviously the Cochrane Library plays an important role in steering the public away from methods that aren’t approved of by the Pill Factories. I clicked on the Search facility and tapped in the words “Nicotine Replacement Therapy”.

What came up was: MeerKat User Guide Version 1.4!

This is a software user guide of course, it has nothing to do with comparethemeerkat.com

So anyway, well done, the Cochrane Library. And thanks Cameron, these links have indeed been very helpful. Well, one of them was. A bit. But nowhere near as useful as comparethemeerkat.com

(Just want to quit smoking? This is the easiest, most successful method.)

Department of Stealth 3

Brief update: On 28th April 2009, the Department of Health sent Belinda (freedom2choose organisation) an email containing four links to relevant information, plus copies of three reports in an attachment.

Needless to say, this will take a little time for us to read and assess. Meanwhile I did not want my previous post to stand, suggesting we were still waiting for a reply from our friends at the DoH, because that would be misleading.

We prefer to leave that sort of caper to them. More soon!

(Just want to quit smoking? Click here.)

The Department of Stealth 2

After about six years of being on this quest to prove to the world that there is no such thing as “therapeutic nicotine”, we now find ourselves at a crucial point: the missing report.

NRT Doesn’t Work

The central premise of the Truth Will Out Campaign is that taxpayers’ money should not be wasted on Nicotine Replacement Poisoning because the long-term failure-rate is so high that it is obvious to anyone with half a brain that NRT is virtually useless, and smokers should not be encouraged by medical authorities to waste their time with it, especially since some of them might not have much time left to find a real solution.

In the Evidence Section here on the site, I reproduce documents from the Department of Health and the NHS which claim (short-term) success rates as high as 90% in one area, and a national average of 55%.  These reports are very likely to be read by the public because they are easy to access, as are others like them which clearly suggest that all the money spent on NRT is worthwhile investment in real success.  In truth, the long-term outcomes are so vastly different that the wide publication of one and the covering up of the other amounts to seriously misleading the public about the effectiveness of those services.

The Missing Report

We still cannot find, and the Department of Health have consistently failed to produce a copy of the only report they have ever commissioned into the long-term success rates of the NHS Stop Smoking Services, which we know was carried out by a team from Glasgow University in 2005.  This report is supposed to be the evidence which justifies the claim by the Department of Stealth that the long-term success rate is 15%.

We Do Not Believe Them!

Various independent studies (i.e. nothing to do with government) suggest that the real outcomes, for NRT particularly, are between 5% and 8%.   In 1992 the University of Iowa published a very wide-ranging study which put the figure for willpower alone at 6%, which does rather suggest that NRT is a total waste of taxpayers’ millions.  So we became very curious about this 15% figure, as it seems to be double the success rate others are finding!


The freedom2choose organisation’s Belinda Cunnison recently started to press the DoH over a similar matter: the famous claim that smokers are “up to four times more likely to succeed” with NHS quit services, to see if they could discover if there was in fact any truth in that.  As a statement, it certainly conveys the impression that the services really make a difference.  A big difference, I mean, not just a tiny difference that would inspire nobody to take that route if they knew what the actual figures were, because they would almost certainly be wasting their time.

Four Weeks is Nothing

The ludicrous claims of up to 90% success are based upon self-report at four weeks.  Some smokers actually laugh out loud when I tell them that the NHS chalk you up as an official success if you tell them you haven’t smoked for four weeks!  That is a system of measuring ‘success’ which is obviously designed to make the services seem more effective than they actually prove to be in real terms, but the fact that the government waited five years before they even did a pilot scheme to look at the real, long-term outcomes is frankly inexplicable.

The apparent fact that they then buried the actual report, and are still refusing to produce a copy of it is damning.

So far, Belinda has sent a number of emails to the Department of Health asking for detailed information about the “scientific studies” that underpin the claim that you are “four times more likely to succeed” with the NHS.  If the University of Iowa’s study is accurate, then the NHS would have to achieve long-term outcomes of 4 x 6%, which is 24%.  They don’t claim that anywhere, but they do claim 15%.

The Failures of the DoH so far:

They have failed to send a copy of the report from which the 15% claim supposedly originated every time it has been requested, but they have promised to send it several times.  The first time it was supposed to be in an attachment, but there was no attachment.  Then there was an attachment, but it was the wrong report.  Twice they have promised to put a link to the report on their website, this has still not been done two months after it was first promised.

They have also failed to explain what the actual figures are behind their claim, but they do refer to a number of different reports which are supposed to be relevant.  (The report that they actually sent to us was not one of them, or at least it wasn’t the bit about success rates!)

Goodbye Barry Davis

Right up until this point, a chap called Barry Davis was handling this matter, and obviously not very well.  The latest reply to Belinda’s awkward questions comes from a different fellow, a Mr Cameron Gordon.  What is most interesting to me about his attempt to clarify “the Department’s position on these matters” is that he offers no details about the reports that are supposed to back up the claim that the real long-term outcome is 15%, but he does claim that the “inference” that can be made from the reports when taken together is that willpower alone would account for about 4% of quitters.  This seems to suggest that “up to four times more likely to succeed” is reasonable enough, as that would be 16%.  But then, and quite inexplicably he adds a new reference to:

“a very recent publication (2009) by Borland et al of a randomised controlled trial (which) shows ten-month abstinence rates of 6.5% in the treated group and 2.6% in the untreated group- this is of all patients who set a quit date, not just those who quit at four weeks.”

Hey Cameron, you should have quit while you were ahead! You just confirmed what I’ve been saying all along: N.R.T. has a failure-rate of 94%, and since the largest ever meta-study into the various ways of quitting put the figure for willpower at 6%, that proves it doesn’t work at all!

Now think about it, folks: Why on earth would Mr Gordon want to mention that?  Simple: because he knows, really, that the long-term quit rates are so low – and people are asking awkward questions about it now – the only way to defend that “four times more likely” statement is to find new studies that put the willpower (untreated) figures even lower than before!  That was what he was looking at when he included the reference to this new study – the 2.6% figure for willpower alone.  But he was too hasty, wasn’t he?  Because four times 2.6 is 10.4, and this study only found 6.5% at ten months.

Cameron, I still want to see the report you are hiding which the DoH claim found 15% success at 52 weeks.  Because it doesn’t add up, does it?  Borland et al say it’s really 6.5%, you just confirmed that yourself.

Truth Will Out was right!

Now look back at the homepage of this site: didn’t I claim that NRT failed 94% of smokers? How many people read that and assumed I was exaggerating, eh?  Not at all, according to Borland et al.  I was in fact bang on the button, and that’s because the whole nicotine tale is a lie, as I proved in my book Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was. Thanks, Cameron.  I appreciate your help.  Now when are you going to scrap NRT, and stop wasting taxpayers’ money on it?

UPDATE, 31.03.09:

Recently the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council’s Michael O’Sullivan sent letters to both the Department of Health and A.S.H. (“Action on Smoking and Health”, which is supposed to be an independent medical group concerned for the health of smokers, but is actually a shop-window for pharmaceutical quit products), enquiring as to their attitude to hypnotherapy and smoking cessation.  Anyone who has already read my views on this will know exactly what to expect from these corrupt liars, but given that Cameron Gordon knows all about Borland’s finding of a 93.5% failure rate in the treated group at ten months, and that the Department of Health were boasting ‘success rates’ of up to 90% using the four-week measure, what he has to say in reply to the GHSC is very revealing.

Just get a load of this slimy piece of spin, then tell me these people aren’t knowingly misleading the public – and to a degree that I would call criminal:

3rd February 2009

“Thank you for your letter of 23rd January about smoking cessation treatments.  I have been asked to reply.

The primary outcome measure for stop smoking interventions by NHS Stop Smoking Services is a client’s smoking status at four weeks from their quit date. Smoking status is usually verified by client report and by means of a carbon monoxide (CO) test, which measures levels of CO in the client’s expired air and reveals the effects of recent smoking activity.  Whilst relapse can, of course, take place after the four-week follow-up point, the relapse rates for smoking cessation are well documented in the research literature and highly predictable over time.”

Yes Cameron, they sure are. And the results show that the programme is an abject failure, isn’t it – which is why you ain’t quoting any actual figures at all at this point.  Am I not right?

“This means that given good quality four-week data, probable success rates at later time points, such as six months or twelve months, can be calculated with a high degree of accuracy.

Yours sincerely [sic]

Cameron Gordon (Customer Service Centre, DoH)”

Yeah – it’s 93.5% failure, isn’t it Cameron?  So why have you guys been lying to the public and pretending it was only 85% failure at 52 weeks?  You’ve all been seriously misleading the public about the effectiveness of those services, haven’t you?  Just as I said in the book.  This is corruption.  There’s no other word for it.  And smokers are using these services in good faith, quite unaware that you are wasting their time and taxpayers’ money, and some of them are dying as a result.

Here’s the kicker: A.S.H.’s “Research Manager” Amanda Sandford answered Michael O’Sullivan’s request with these words:

“ASH’s position is that we only recommend smoking cessation aids that have proven to be effective through clinical trials (preferably randomised controlled trials).”

Nicotine Replacement Poisoning was originally approved on its performance at six weeks.  That has nothing to do with how EFFECTIVE it is in reality.  ASH know this perfectly well, and because they know they are pushing products that have no real success, they constantly try to mislead the public into thinking that alternative methods like hypnotherapy and the Allen Carr method are similarly useless, and just hope everyone will assume they know what they are talking about, and must be honest because they are medical, “scientific” people.  Now read this, taken from the Easyway website:

27th November 2007

Today Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the public health charity has apologised to Allen Carr’s Easyway Organisation for unfounded comments made by its Director in November 2006.

In November of last year, Deborah Arnott, Director of ASH claimed that specific success rates quoted by Allen Carr Easyway were “plucked out of the air” and “basically made up.” She made these comments whilst on the BBC Radio 4 “PM” programme during a piece concerning the death of Allen Carr, founder of Allen Carr’s Easyway organisation.

Deborah Arnott’s comments referred to two independent studies conducted by eminent experts in the field of smoking cessation which had already been published in peer reviewed journals indicating a 53% success rate for Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking Clinics after 12 months.

See?  ASH aren’t really a public health charity at all, otherwise they would have immediately dropped NRT and adopted the Allen Carr method – as Allen Carr kept suggesting to the Department of Health right up until his death, in the interests of public health – but they never have.  Instead they paid the legal costs of the Allen Carr group, and have been pointedly ignoring them – and us – ever since.

Both ASH and the Department of Stealth are acting against public interests and they know that perfectly well, to serve the interests of the medical authorities and the drug companies, which have become one and the same.  It is corruption, plain and simple – it has absolutely nothing to do with science, clinical trials, evidence or public health.  SCANDAL. COVER-UP. CRIMINAL WASTE OF SMOKERS’ LIVES AND TAXPAYERS’ MONEY.  You are lying, smokers are dying, the drug companies are making a killing – and it’s time the killing stopped.

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The Department of Stealth

The Department of Stealth

Back in January I was contacted by Belinda Cunnison from the freedom2choose organisation, letting me know that they were investigating the NHS claim that you are “four times more likely to succeed” in quitting smoking with the NHS, and wondering if I knew about any published studies that could back up that claim. The thought was that advertising standards may be breached by the slogan.

Since this picks up on a point I made in the Evidence section of this site, and in the book, we decided to pursue it.  In 1992, a report from the University of Iowa looking at different quit methods put the success rate of willpower alone at 6%.  By that standard, “Four times more likely to succeed” would imply that around 24% of smokers using the NHS Smoking Cessation Services would successfully stop smoking, and not just temporarily!

The Bogus Short-Term ‘Success’ Rates

For years, the Department of Health and the NHS have been using a system for measuring success which is frankly laughable – or it would be, if they weren’t using it to justify giving vast sums of taxpayers’ money to the drug companies for Nicotine Replacement Poisoning. If you attend those NHS services, and report not smoking for a period of only four weeks, they will chalk you up as an official success!  This has led to ludicrously high ‘success’ rates being reported and published by the DoH and the NHS as if they were the real story: the document I’ve reproduced on this site dated 9/7/04 credits Kent and Medway SHA with 72% success and South West Kent PCT at 90%!  I accused the Department of Stealth of seriously misleading the public about the effectiveness of those services by doing this, and I stand by that accusation.  Not even a smoking cessation wizard such as myself would claim a 90% success rate, not unless you are screening some clients out before you start!  For the NHS to claim such success rates is preposterous, those people aren’t even therapists, they are merely advisers, counsellors if you like.  Everyone knows they don’t have a success rate of anything like that magnitude.  But does everyone know how truly useless they are?

The Real, Long-Term Quit Rates and The Missing Report

The 2004 document I mentioned above also summarises the ‘findings’ of the one and only DoH-commissioned report into the long-term effectiveness of the NHS Stop Smoking Services.  The study was done by Glasgow University and looked at the outcomes at 52 weeks.  It was originally published in the journal Addiction – where smokers and taxpayers were bound to see it, obviously – and since then it seems to have disappeared without a trace.  Although the document I have reproduced suggests that it can be found by following a link at the end of the article, in fact there is no such link.

In the DoH summary, it is claimed that “15% remain quit at 52 weeks”, which sounds like a 15% success rate, doesn’t it? Yet in the book I quote a number of independent studies which find that the real outcomes of smokers using Nicotine Replacement products is somewhere between 5% and 8%.  On this site and in the book I point to the word “remain” as the suspicious factor here.

Across the U.K., the short-term NHS quit rate (based on self-report at four weeks) averages out at 55%.  So if you take 15% of those people – not 15% of the total treated – you get back to the equivalent of 8% long-term quitters for the entire number of smokers using the NHS Service.  But 8% doesn’t sound very good, does it?  Especially if willpower achieves 6% anyway!  It begins to look like abject failure and a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money, doesn’t it?  Just like I said in the book, in fact.

So I’ve raised the question: Have the Department of Health sneakily used the term: “15% remain quit” to suggest 15% of the people using the services, when it really means only 15% of those who reported success at  four weeks, which is only 8% in reality?

We have decided to find out for sure.  Belinda got on to the Department of Health and asked them why there was no link to this crucial report on their website, and could they kindly send us a copy of it?  She also advised them that she was trying to ascertain whether or not it was true that smokers are four times more likely to quit with the NHS.  On 3rd February she received an email from Barry Davis at the DoH, apologising for the fact that the link was not on their website and promising to get that corrected.  Then he added that he had provided the link in the attachment to the email.

Hang on, though! There was no attachment!

So Belinda got back to him again, explaining that there was no attachment.  “Oh silly me,” said Barry, or words to that effect, “here is a copy of the document you requested.  Hope everything is now okay”.   So she read it, but it didn’t seem to say anything about long-term quit rates.  She asked Barry about that, and forwarded a copy to me.  I read it carefully.

It was the wrong report entirely!

So Belinda has pointed out to Barry that this report, lovely though it is, plainly says nothing about the long-term results of the NHS Stop Smoking Services, the very thing we were asking about in fact.  So as soon as we hear from Barry again, we shall let you know whether this is incompetence (which is bad) or a cover-up at the expense of taxpayers’ millions and smokers’ lives. Truth Will Out, won’t it?  We’ll make sure of it, actually.  Watch this space.

(Just want to quit smoking? Click here.)

Rave Reviews for The Book!

“Highly recommended and possibly one day the book that will be regarded as the seminal tome for examining the smoking habit for what it really is.”

“The real truth behind Nicotine, and the NRT industry is here. Whether you’re attempting to quit smoking, or are just interested in the topic, this will open your eyes. Brilliant.”

These are direct quotes from two reviews of Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was, posted on Amazon.co.uk recently.  I don’t know either of these people, so you can imagine how delighted I am to hear my work spoken of in such terms.  The top quote is – according to Amazon – from a guy in Brisbane, Australia.  It’s a wonderful enough thought that someone on the other side of the world even has a copy of my book, let alone thinks it could become “the seminal tome” where smoking is concerned… heady stuff, eh?

If you want to read the rest of their comments, you can see the full reviews for yourself at Amazon.co.uk (not .com, that’s a different site) using the book title to search.  When the book’s page comes up, you will see that somewhere amid the blurb it states: “2 customer reviews”.  Click on that and read what people who have actually read the book – and have no connection with me whatsoever – thought of it.

Why Bother?

Well, do you smoke?  Do you know anyone who smokes?  Every smoker in the world is being lied to, systematically, and the book proves it beyond doubt.  No wonder smokers find it hard to quit when the methods they are told to use are useless, and based on a lie.  Most of them could quit easily with hypnotherapy, but medical authorities are officially advising them that it is “not proven” – which is also a lie!  This misinformation is killing people in their millions worldwide.  I’m not asking you to believe me just because I state that, I’m asking you to read the evidence then make up your own mind – exactly what the two people quoted above did, in fact.

Then ask yourself: “Why is this officially-approved mass-poisoning of smokers going on?  Why is our tax money being wasted on this bullshit?  Why are we being told untruths… is it deliberate?”

Well, before I did the research for the book, I honestly assumed it was just error.  Maybe, right at the beginning when someone first dreamed up the idea of Nicotine Replacement, it actually was just error.  Somewhere along the line that developed – through a combination of greed, cynicism, twisted logic and political expediency – into an excellent method of:

Appearing to be very pro-active in tackling the smoking issue…

Keeping drug companies very happy indeed (and happy drug companies treat their political helpers very nicely too)…

Making sure the decline in smoking is slowed down as much as possible in reality, by wasting smokers’ time with methods that don’t work BUT not telling them that, so the smokers end up blaming themselves…

Thereby keeping up tobacco tax revenues (not to mention VAT receipts on NRT products bought over the counter) for as long as possible…

AND as a convenient side-benefit, thereby making sure many of those smokers never reach pensionable age, when there are too many people in the U.K. doing that already.

WHY ELSE would they not have scrapped NRT when it became obvious to the Department of Health that Nicotine Replacement Poisoning actually has a long-term failure rate of 94%?  (The other 6% is just willpower, by the way.)

Doubt as a knee-jerk reaction

I guess when you first hear of a book entitled Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was it is quite normal to assume that the writer must have got something fundamentally wrong.  Of course nicotine is a drug – isn’t it?  So why bother reading that?  As the book says: it is easier to go on believing what you have always been told than to recognise the truth you’ve never heard before.

I remember when I published the first edition in October 2007, my wife was expecting it to take off like a rocket and was very excited about it (she was the book’s proofreader), but I said: “No.  This is a slow-burner.”  The drug companies and the medical authorities have got everyone so deeply hypnotised into believing that habitual smoking is an “addiction to nicotine” that proving them wrong is going to take time.  I know that.

But you see, I really don’t care how long it takes.  The book is going to change medical history because it is the first publication ever to conclusively prove the case, and I know that there are enough people out there who are curious, maybe even intrigued by the title to think beyond doubtful assumptions and investigate this for themselves.  These people have been buying the book – or downloading the e-book via the Truth Will Out site – and already some of them are recommending it highly and strongly suggesting that if you have any interest in these matters, you should read it too because it explains exactly how to get rid of the smoking habit easily.

This especially applies to anyone who ever tried NRT because they honestly believed it was a proven method, when in fact it was originally approved only on the basis of its performance at 6 weeks.  Every tobacco smoker who was ever told they were addicted to a ‘drug’ called nicotine, when in fact the poison nicotine possesses no quality that justifies the term ‘drug’.  Every smoker who was ever led to believe that they smoke because of nicotine, and that’s why they can’t stop.  We’re talking hundreds of millions of smokers, worldwide.

That’s a very big market for any nicotine-related quit method, folks.  And that makes the term “nicotine addiction” not only the biggest medical mistake of the 20th Century, but also – every time it is uttered – an advertising slogan.

But not for long!  Because my book proves that the nicotine tale is a lie, and that the propagators of that lie know that they are misleading people.  And they don’t care if that lie ends up killing you – or your Dad, your sister, your best friend or your lover.

But I do.  And I’m not going to let them get away with it.

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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.

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