by Chris Holmes
In response to the post Champix Kills, But Don’t Tell The Smokers a comment came in from James which raised a number of important points, so I have decided to reproduce it here, along with my response to the points he raised:
JAMES on October 27th, 2009 at 7:11 am Said:
I am in two minds regarding Champix. I have many friends who have taken it, the majority have stopped smoking for good (so far). One had a bad reaction and had to stop the course. Depression.
I will be getting the pills tonight and I am optimistic about them. Even though I have read many, many of the horror stories surrounding the drug, I have read many, many, many more that support its use from satisfied patients.
I suggest having a look through this forum: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/interactive/discussion/viewtopic.php?t=6901&f=11&postdays=0&start=1
There are many people on there who are using/used the drug, detailing all their side effects and most of them come out on top, even after suffering the more drastic ones such as depression. Funny that, I don’t think a single one ever mentioned “suicidal tendencies or thoughts”. I don’t deny this, but when it comes down to either Tobacco companies generating insane amounts of revenue at the cost of my health, or a Chemical company offering me something with a 20% (based on your figure) success rate of quitting smoking that has many people praising, or spending hundreds of pounds on hypnotherapy.. I’m going with the pill.
The one thing I DO agree with, is that the NHS / Health Associations are all corrupt. I read Alan Carr’s book, which helped me stop smoking for 6 months previously. Reading it again does not have the same appeal, naturally, but his points do stand. If the NHS actually thought for themselves, or did some research, they really would find out that hypnotherapy is far more successful than NRT, although the costs of such would not necessarily benefit them. I imagine hypnotherapy is more expensive than patches!!
It does not suprise me that hypnotherapists are very anti-champix, as naturally, it is one-side fighting for revenue against another. Saving lives is the most important, but this can really split peoples trusts.
Needless to say, I will be taking Champix, I am aware of the risks and will keep an eye on my mental state very closely (along with the help of others). If I don’t quit using it, I cannot afford hypnotherapy. Therefore, its either the cigarettes or the Champix that will no doubt, one day kill me.
Even though you have your own ideas about Champix already, and can back them up, if it helps 20% of smokers to become non-smokers, then withdrawing it is a BIG mistake.
Those 20% who do quit with it, may not be able to afford the several-hundred pounds cost of hypnotherapy (based on last time I checked a session at an Alan Carr clinic). You could be giving them a death-sentence, if they continued to smoke.
Smoking is expensive enough, I’ll take my chances with a prescription fee
P.S.. Interesting read, nonetheless!!
CHRIS on October 28th, 2009 at 5:45am Said:
Hi James, thanks for your thoughts.
I had a look at the “netdoctor” site, and what struck me immediately was that nearly all the posts on the first page are from people on Day 1 or Day 3 of the course! These are “so far, so good” posts that many champix blogs are littered with, which create a totally false impression. That’s like someone sending you a text message that says they’re 12 minutes into their hypnotherapy session, and so far they haven’t wanted a cigarette! Only people who have been off the tablets for weeks or months can truly report their own experience as a success. Don’t forget, half the people in the original trials who were counted as successes were smoking again within 28 weeks.
Most of the horrific side effects have kicked in after weeks on the drug, so please don’t be falsely reassured by these early comments.
Who or What is netdoctor?
Down at the bottom of the homepage it says that netdoctor.co.uk is a trade mark. Is it? And what trade might that be, then? And do you suppose that the lack of posts reporting serious side effects might be because the site moderators think that those sort of reports might be bad for “trade”, so they don’t get approved for display on the site?
Hypnotherapy v. Champix?
I’m not against Champix simply because it is competition. If it were as straighforward as that I would be against the Allen Carr people and acupuncturists too, but as anyone can see from reading Truth Will Out, I am not – in fact I recommend them. I do claim hypnotherapy has the greatest success of the three, but then I back that up in the Evidence section. This site is all about evidence, and so is the book. You don’t have to buy the book to see that, because I publish a lot of it here for free.
The Relative Costs
Although I often state that the Allen Carr Easyway method is a form of hypnotherapy – which is true – it is not the best form by a long way. In fact I would suggest to anyone that the best version of the Allen Carr approach is to read the original book, the one that actually made him famous in the first place. The group sessions involve too many people, it complicates matters and brings down the overall success rate. The book is something you contemplate, and can return to – there are fewer distractions, just as in a one-to-one hypnotherapy session it is a more personal experience.
Please don’t assume hypnotherapy costs hundreds of pounds just because the Allen Carr franchises charge hundreds of pounds for their stop smoking sessions. I confidently regard myself as an expert in this field, but I only charge £120 for the Stop Smoking session I offer. I also have a reduced-fee back up session, so even those smokers who need two sessions – most do not – only pay £160 in total. Most smokers save that back in a month.
Now, some colleagues have suggested that I should charge more, and I certainly could charge more. But it is also true that some smokers – like yourself – would not choose hypnotherapy if I did that, so it would be the opposite of promoting the wider recognition of hypnotherapy as a therapeutic mode, something to which all professional hypnotherapists are supposed to be committed.
You are suggesting that Champix is attractive because you only pay a prescription fee. For many people that may turn out to be true. But over the last two years I have been told of many people who have paid a much higher price. Some of them are dead. So what you are suggesting only remains a valid conclusion if none of that happens to you personally. It is exactly the same “It won’t happen to me” assumption that many smokers adopt with regard to heart attacks and cancer – but in your case you have transferred it to Champix instead, accepting the suggestion that “it has to be better than dying of cancer”, as if those were the only choices! It’s a marketing suggestion and it apparently works very well, but it has a very hollow ring later for the unlucky ones.
Is it really about money? Those people who have posted their horror stories here and on other blogs, the ones who are terrified they will never feel normal, happy and healthy again – how much money would they pay to get their health back, or to be able to turn back the clock and never take the damn stuff in the first place?
How much did you pay for your last holiday? Was it £120? That was over in a flash, and now you have only your snapshots and your memories, but the benefits of stopping smoking last a lifetime.
What I am telling everyone is the truth, and I don’t just state it, I’m providing plenty of evidence and plenty of references so people can find out more – far more than the drug company lackeys are telling them. Then I am suggesting that you make an informed choice, and I think it is logical to try all the non-risk options first: hypnotherapy, the Allen Carr method and acupuncture have never harmed anyone, but they have certainly helped a lot of people to quit smoking.
In the context of your safety, your good health and the whole of the rest of your life, the investment in these non-risk approaches is peanuts, really! How much money do we burn up every year simply on our own idle entertainment?
I am only suggesting that the use of methods that have already harmed people should only be considered when all the safe methods have already been tried. You would think doctors would agree with that, wouldn’t you? As for the NHS funding hypnotherapy sessions for smoking cessation, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!
Too many fingers in too many pies, my friend. The annual NHS bill for medications alone topped £10 billion some time ago, and it is rising still… do you really think the use of pharmaceuticals saves the NHS money?
It is killing the NHS. And we’ll see the end of the NHS before we see the end of the stranglehold the drug companies have over the medical profession. Hypnotherapists can’t stop it. Doctors can’t stop it. Even the drug companies can’t stop it, because they are in competition with other drug companies, and they have obligations to their shareholders. They have to sell more drugs, which means the NHS has to buy more drugs, which means people – such as yourself – have to take more drugs. They can’t have you going off to see a hypnotherapist – if everyone started doing that it would only mean one thing for drug companies: hard times. So of course they do everything in their power to steer you away from that, and netdoctor.co.uk is doing its bit there.
The question is, who do you trust? Those of us who have never hurt anyone but have helped thousands of people to safely stop smoking, or the people who have a long and apparently shameless history of killing and maiming tens of thousands of ‘unlucky ones’ with a whole list of nasty concoctions over the years, every one of which was mistakenly passed as “safe”?
Whatever you choose to do, James, I wish you well. Please do keep us posted about your progress.
*This exchange was four weeks ago. So far James has not been back to tell us whether he did start taking Champix that night as he planned, or how the first four weeks went.
the safest quit smoking method is also the most successful