How the NHS can save Lots Of Money!

Scrap the smoking cessation programme. As I demonstrated with all the evidence from the various government reports in “The NHS Lie Exposed” there is no significant difference between what smokers can achieve by themselves using willpower and the long term outcomes of NHS help, ie. when followed up at one year after “treatment”. Independent corroboration of those facts here.

Notice how Amanda Sandford from Cash In On Smoking And Health (A.S.H.) tries to suggest that there is convincing evidence to the contrary. This is because A.S.H. is operating entirely to support drug company products in the smoking cessation field, that is all they do. They hammer on and on about “nicotine addiction” and got into legal trouble when they tried to rubbish success claims for the Allen Carr (non-drug) method. None of the drug company products have ever achieved the success rate that Allen Carr’s Easyway International Group proved in court (53%), and A.S.H. were forced to apologise and pay Easyway’s costs, YET THEY DO NOT ENDORSE THE EASYWAY METHOD – which proves they are not really a “public health charity” but a shop window for the drug companies posing as a public health charity.

Sandford claims that:

“…studies into the benefits of nicotine patches and gums were ‘robust’ and that ‘all the evidence points to relying on willpower alone is not terribly successful.”

The unnamed Department of Health spokeman claimed that the Sydney University team’s anaylsis of 511 studies was:

“…inconsistent with a very well established evidence-base. Smokers that attempt to quit without assistance are significantly less likely to quit successfully than those who quit with support. The unsupported quit rate is around 4 per cent at one year. This is doubled when a smoker uses stop smoking medicines, and quadrupled when a smoker uses the NHS Stop Smoking Services – where smokers get both medicine and behavioural support.”

This is simply untrue. The claim of a 15% success rate which originates from the Fergusson report and is the supposed basis for the “four times more likely to succeed” slogan was only achieved by a process of cherry picking, weeding out all the participants that the report’s authors thought less likely to succeed because of socio-economic factors. That is bogus. The Borland report, on the other hand, found only a 6.5% success rate at one year follow up for NHS Smoking Cessation Services. Figures for willpower alone we have seen through several reports oscillate between 4% and 8%. In other words, the methods employed by the NHS Stop Smoking Services are an unjustifiable waste of precious public resources and must be scrapped. The Truth Will Out Campaign entirely agrees with this statement:

“Simon Chapman, a professor of public health, said that governments were also guilty of medicalising smoking cessation and of making giving up sound harder than it actually is.”

Yes, and so are A.S.H. The fact is, they don’t WANT you to quit. They want you to smoke, then try the gum, then smoke, then try the patches, then smoke, then try the lozenges, then smoke, then try the micro-tab, then smoke, then try the inhalator-thingy…

Quit Smoking In One Session With Hypnotherapy!

Of course I believe the money would be better spent on hypnotherapy based on my own experience as a hypnotherapist over the last decade, and also the evidence reproduced in the book and on this site. However I am no longer under any illusion that evidence will change these things. The opposition to change is ideological and has far more to do with money, power and influence than it has to do with evidence.

No, the thing which will really force a change is the fact that there isn’t any money – not for hypnotherapy, not for nicotine replacement poisoning, not for the Champix Suicide Pills, not for that freaky Zyban (it’s an anti-depressant! No it’s not, it’s an anti-smoking pill! No it’s not, it’s a cure for hiccups! No wait, it’s…)

There’s no money for any of it. All sorts of things are going to be cut, but the things that will be cut first are the ones that don’t work anyway, and EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT N.R.T. DOESN’T BLOODY WORK! And Champix is killing people, and damaging a lot more. Scrap the lot! Stop wasting prescious NHS resources on this bullshit!

Nicotine: The Weird (Non) Addiction

by Chris Holmes

Now Meet Doug Wilson

What have I been saying all this time?  That tobacco smoking has been MISTAKEN for an addiction but is really just a compulsive habit.  How did I discover this?  By finding that a single hypnotherapy session can shut it down easily, cravings and all, with no weight gain and no side effects.  This I have done with thousands of smokers over the last ten years.  I am also trying to explain to the world that cravings are not withdrawal symptoms and that they are unconnected to nicotine levels in the system, which is why a smoker can get an impulse to reach for a cigarette when they have recently put one out (eg. when bored or whilst socialising) or whilst wearing a nicotine patch.

Another factor that helped me to understand the differences between a Compulsive Habit and a real drug addiction was my own personal experiences with real addictions and other compulsive habits – various drug habits, a drink habit and other, non-substance habits.  Here is another chap who has had similar life experiences which have caused him to notice the curious differences between drug addiction and a tobacco habit.  As you read this, note particularly how Doug has realised that the “I want a cigarette” impulse (craving) is not the same as withdrawal, and once he has actually lit it he often finds that he doesn’t “want” it much at all, and often doesn’t finish it.  He can’t explain that, but I can: cravings feel like a need or a desire, but they are really only mimicking bodily needs.  The Subconscious is sending a ‘prompting’ signal to repeat the habitual behaviour, but it sends it via the body, using the body as a signalling system to convey an impression to the conscious awareness that something is ‘desired’ or ‘needed’, when in fact only the signal makes it seem so.  It is VERY effective, but because the signal is only prompting the smoker to pick up the cigarette and light it, as soon as that is done the signal disappears.  The rest of it is smoked out of a mixture of habit and expectation, but already the compulsive urge (sense of need) is gone.  That’s why some smokers put it out halfway through or even put it down in an ashtray and forget all about it.

We get lots of cravings, they’re not all about tobacco.  They are compulsive urges, not withdrawal symptoms.  Read what Doug says about withdrawal.

Not a Bodily Need

Don’t get me wrong, cravings can certainly FEEL like a physical need – and that can be utterly, utterly convincing but if it were true, it would still be there after the hypnotherapy session but it’s not.  Now read this bit from Doug again:

“The part I don’t like about “I’m quitting” is the “I want a cigarette voice”. It seems inconsequential. But what are the symptoms of schizophrenia? The voice can drive you nuts. The voice – is awful. You’d think, with the amount of work I do on my brain and the amount of writing I do on the subject I’d have a plan. Nope. I have people call me and write me for help with addictions. They ask for help understanding the brain and I offer them what I’ve come to understand. I know it’s just a voice. I know it’s just my brain. I know I won’t go clinically insane when I quit. I know that if have to listen to the voice say, “I want a cigarette”, a thousand times a day, I’ll be in better shape than I am now. You’d think I’d be anxious to get started. Nope. The voice sucks. It takes over. It hounds. Pesters. Grates. I get mad. I wanna smash it. I get annoyed, antsy, edgy and restless. But I don’t have a single physical withdrawal symptom. Weird.”

The Factual Explanation

The key is, the part of the brain sending the “I want” message is the Subconscious, and the decision to quit smoking was made by the conscious mind.  The Subconscious knows nothing about it.  All it knows is, you’re not responding to the prompting message so it sends another, and another… driving you up the wall until you want to smash something.  But along comes the Expert Hypnotherapist and explains the conscious decision to the Subconscious – and all the reasons for it (very important) – and the fact that tobacco companies were LYING when they told us all that tobacco was useful or pleasant in some way (even more important) and guess what?  The message STOPS.  And as long as the Expert Hypnotherapist makes it very clear that we don’t want that habit replaced with anything else (like food or chocolate), then that won’t happen either.  Nicotine has nothing to do with it.  The nicotine tale is a lie, and if it wasn’t for the loony GP I introduce in the next post, no-one would be regarding this particular habit as if it were a drug addiction anyway.

practice website

The Drug That Never Was

Poor Little Conscious Mind

by Chris Holmes

If you were ever under the impression that the Subconscious mind was just a robotic ‘lizard brain’ that blindly obeys instructions from a hypnotist, you couldn’t be more wrong!  Many people get that idea from seeing stage hypnotists, who are deliberately misleading their audience but only getting away with creating the impression that they have influence over other people’s minds because the people in the audience know virtually nothing about the true nature of their own Subconscious!

The Missing Information

You know when you were growing up, and first making sense of the world around you, and being taught things… did anyone mention a Subconscious mind to you?  No, me neither!  We were all raised and educated as if the Subconscious mind does not exist. So by the time we reach an age when we start hearing that word mentioned from time to time, we don’t really know what to do with the idea of a Subconscious mind, because it does not immediately fit in to the way we regard our own mind.  By that point in our development the conscious mind thinks IT IS the mind, so at first it doesn’t like the sound of this ‘Subconscious mind’ and tends to push the idea away.

This is particularly true of very analytical people who tend to cling to logic, rationality and scientific models of reality, some of whom (not all, obviously!) seem to feel a need to attack or pour scorn upon anything that looks as if it must be outside of their comfort zone.  A few of these people also come to suppose that the only reason other people don’t think exactly the same way as they do themselves is because those folk aren’t as clever as the strictly rational sort.  Here is a typical example, taken from a recent review of Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was by someone who seems (to me) to have only read the excerpts from the book published on this site:

“…according to Mr Holmes, quitting is as easy as a 2 hour session appealing to your mysterious subconscious, that (conveniently) only a hynotherapist can communicate with.  You can believe in his miracle cure, and no doubt hand over a large sum of cash in the process, or you can use the method that actually works, and costs nothing – quit cold turkey, and promise yourself you will not smoke just for today. I did that 6 months ago, and my “subconcious” had F-all to do with it.”

This attitude is quite commonplace, which is why I mention several times in the book that “the conscious mind does not believe in the Subconscious, except perhaps in theory.  And by extension, doesn’t believe in hypnotherapy either until encountering the results for real.”  Notice how the writer here is suggesting that I charge large sums of money without bothering to ask about that, dismisses hypnotherapy by choosing the phrase “miracle cure” and refers to his own subconscious mind at the end in a way that suggests there is no such thing!  Not his fault, no-one ever taught him anything about it, or he would know already that it is not ‘mysterious’ to me, nor did I ever suggest that only hypnotherapists can communicate with it – tell that to advertisers, they’ve been communicating with it very effectively for a long time now.  Of course, once you understand the Subconscious mind’s view of the world, you are far less likely to be influenced by any of that.

Not Rational = Dangerous!

Sometimes ‘rationalists’ even suggest that mental processing (thinking) that is not within the strict bounds of logic is dangerous, and there is certainly evidence for that: for example when people first dreamed up the idea that we might be able to design a machine that could fly – and maybe even reach for the heavens, walk upon the moon, that sort of thing – well, many of the original pioneers of that sort of fanciful nonsense came unstuck!  “Serves them right too”, the strictly logical people of the time would have probably been telling one another, “after all, if man had been meant to fly, he’d have been born with wings!”

My contention is that if man had been meant to always be strictly logical, he wouldn’t have been born with an imagination.  And indeed some are not, or at least with such a shrivelled and weak imagination that they hardly ever use it.  So maybe what really happens is that we all play to our strengths, and the people with feeble imaginations develop their analytical faculties more, whilst those with fertile imaginations may find logical analysis a bit dull compared to letting their imaginations run wild.  And the human world needs plenty of both types – if they are types – because when you need someone to be the financial director of a business, you definitely want the conscious analytical faculties to be confidently brought to bear in that endeavour, but if you want someone to design a new Ferrari or stage the opening of the next Olympic Games, Mr. Logical would be utterly useless.

The Imagination and The Analyst (and the real issue behind the Snow/Leavis debate)

Ever since ‘le petit enlightenment’, as I like to call it, the marvellous role of the Subconscious Imaginary has been less appreciated, even dismissed. “Oh, that’s just your imagination!” is a common expression for demonstrating how little you care for the concerns of another person, but within that phrase there is also a suggestion that “imaginary” = “not real” = “not worthy of serious consideration”.

That notion is really a result of the Subconscious-shaped gap in our general education.  And it needs fixing, because in reality the role of the imagination in human affairs has been every bit as vital as the role of the intellect.

(An aside for those familiar with the Snow/Leavis reference: “There is only one way out of all this,” Snow had argued. “It is, of course, by rethinking our education.”  He was right, but probably didn’t realise that what we really need to include now is detailed information about the Subconscious mind so that it no longer seems “mysterious” to anyone!)

When Rene Descartes famously declared: “I think, therefore I am”, what he didn’t realise was that we are thinking more than we think we are.  Humans have at least two modes of thinking: analytical thinking which our conscious faculties operate, and Subconscious thinking which we call “dreaming”. When we do that whilst awake, we call it “daydreaming”.  Examples of a finer quality are also known as “inspiration” or even “genius”.

“Oh, he’s just a dreamer!” is another familiar dismissal of the kind of person who spends more time exercising their Subconscious intelligence than their conscious faculties.  But where would we be without the dreamers?  Every great invention, each quantum leap in technological development, any stunning performance or inspirational work of art, every great engineering project… they all began with a daydream.

Just look at the way many modern realities were the mere fantasies of yesteryear:

Five centuries ago Leonardo DiCaprio was producing detailed drawings of a Ford Capri that might actually have done 0-60 in 7.5 seconds if only they’d had petrol back then, but all they had was candle grease.  They also had no Highway Code, which is why Leonardo wrote The DaVinci Code.

The only reason Britain has the Channel Tunnel today is because Margaret Thatcher loved taking magic mushrooms. That’s why she hardly slept, but during one particularly heavy trip she had visions of a tunnel under the sea that could bring closer together the two nations that love each other best in the world: the English and the French.

Certain thrilling pastimes of the modern world would not exist at all if it hadn’t been for World War II fighter ace Douglas Bader.  Hurtling towards the ground in his flaming Spitfire, he paused before ejecting just a little longer than he should have done, because he was enjoying the weightless sensation so much that he started dreaming of ways to re-create it just for sport.  That hesitation cost him all his limbs and almost his head, yet he lived to fly again, and that inspirational moment gave us the luge, the bobsleigh and at least two of the rides at Alton Towers.

Bruce Springsteen was hiding in a cave one day, because he had chopped down his father’s cherry tree, when he noticed a spider building a web. Just for fun he destroyed the web, and was surprised to see that the spider was apparently not deterred by this and simply built the web back up again from scratch.  What really impressed Springsteen – who was later to become world-famous as Robert The Boss – was that no matter how many times he meanly tore down the completed web, the spider would patiently build it back up again.  After several days of this, Bruce emerged from the cave inspired to create something that no-one could ever get rid of, which is why the World Wide Web was born in the USA.   Although Bruce wasn’t, actually, he was born in Cardiff.  He only swam to America because he wanted to be a cowboy.  And also to get away from his dad, who was absolutely fuming about the tree because it was the third time.  But I reckon it was his own fault really, he should have just bought the kid that guitar and then maybe none of that axe unpleasantness would have happened.  It was Lizzie Borden and the harpsichord all over again.

For most of the time humans have been on this planet, a sudden massive heart attack would have meant a long and quick death.  (“Long” as in “dead for a long time”.)  Then one day in 1820 a Tasmanian surgeon called Dr Lucian C. Gore was surprised by a mouse in his summerhouse, and began to wonder what would happen if he used industrial cutting gear to rip open the chest cavity of the heart-attack victim before the relatives had time to object and replace the damaged organ with the healthy, fast-beating heart of a fieldmouse.  Gore never succeeded with this technique himself, and was soon arrested – which surprised no-one at the time – and yet his apparently crazy idea was adapted later and although Gore’s name is hardly known to the public, in medical circles he is often referred to as the psychotic father of modern organ transplant surgery.

When Martin Luther famously nailed that note to the door of 10 Downing Street in the Nineteen Seventeen Hundreds, which said: “I have a dream!” …of course no-one took any notice, but they certainly felt very silly later when that phrase became one of the most inspirational moments of public oratory since the Declaration of Independence was read out by Ho Chi Minh.

Finally – and I think most convincingly of all – who would have thought that when Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise flipped open his ‘communicator’ and said the immortal words: “Beam me up, Scotty!” in the 1960s that only 100 years later we would be beaming around all over the place in  reality, eh?  I mean I know we’re still only going to work or to the shopping mall… and we haven’t quite solved the problem of how to go more than four miles in under a minute without disintegrating yet, but we’re working on it baby.  We’re working on it.  Someone is bound to dream up a brilliant solution sooner or later.  That’s why we dominate the Earth.

News from the archives: 1968 “Today in Memphis Dr Martin Luther King was shot dead by a lone assassin.  But what of it?  As we all know, he was just a dreamer, wasn’t he?”

But as Lennon sang, he’s not the only one.

Now, can you imagine King’s most famous speech being written – or even funnier, being delivered – by Richard Dawkins?  Analytical thinking is all very useful, as far as it goes, but to achieve something like that it takes both vision and passion, and for that we need the wonderful Subconscious Imaginary, which has the power to stir the soul of thousands of people simultaneously and change the world in a single afternoon. For real.  And at a moment like that, any contribution from the poor little conscious mind of any speaker would not have been noticed at all.

On A Lighter Note:

Just have a look at this review of Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was that someone posted on

This book was hard work. The author sounds very angry, I could feel the tension from the pages as I was reading – it made me want to smoke more. I made a very expensive mistake buying this book. Just wanted to warn others as I had been swayed by the previous comments which were so positive.

(Published 11 months ago by R. A. Mahoney)
Hmm!  The Poor Little Conscious Mind post is fairly typical of the style of the book, so clearly whoever wrote that review has never read any book written by me!  Aren’t people weird?  There’s another couple of reviews that are similar, one of which suggests that all the good reviews have been written by my friends!  No, they’re genuine reviews, and I don’t know any of those people except of course my wife, who edited the book and also commented on the ‘bad’ reviews on  Anyway I pointed out to the idiot who suggested that I was organising my own reviews that so far there are no reviews at all on, although there are quite a few now on the publishing site (, the Truth Will Out site (see Testimonials) and on   If I was organising that myself, you’d have thought I’d have got around to putting some on by now, two years after publication!
It seems that a few people would prefer it if no-one read my book!  I know the book looks as if it is very serious – with the skull on the front and everything – but it certainly isn’t angry, in fact most people find it really funny in places.  I like to make things pretty entertaining as well as informative.  On the Read The Book option here on the Truth Will Out site I’ve largely left out the more entertaining bits because I’m trying to be serious here.  This is a campaign website, goddammit!  If you find this stuff interesting don’t forget that you can get a full download version of the book for only five pounds!  (That’s less than eight US dollars.)  Then you don’t have the paperback lying around the house and frightening the children.   Only thing is, you can’t read the download version in the bath. Really wouldn’t advise it, anyway.  If the monitor falls in the water you end up looking like the guy on the cover.  I wouldn’t wish that on anyone who wanted to read my book.  Just the few weirdos who post bogus ‘reviews’ of a book they’ve obviously never read, and tell you I’m a terrible writer!  The cheek!  Why, I oughta…

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.

more about hypnotherapy

The Trials of Edzard Ernst

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

Show me a hundred different scientific studies into the efficacy (or lack thereof) of any kind of therapy.  Will they all produce more or less the same findings?  No.  But why not?  If the RCT is the gold standard of assessment, surely it will just come up with truth, will it not?  Isn’t this the reason that Ernst says “Don’t shoot the messenger!” as if he didn’t play any personal role in producing those finding whatsoever, and his followers will point to his publications and say: “The science says…”

Almost as if “the science” just does itself, and Ernst’s role is rather like that of the sorcerer’s apprentice: once he has set it in motion he has no influence over the process or the outcomes…

And indeed this would be the case with all scientists, would it not?  It’s just pure science, and it simply reveals pure truth.  That’s the idea, that’s the suggestion whenever we have one study or another shoved under our noses by the cynics.  So if the cynics were right about CAM therapists – that we’re all just quacks – then all the scientific studies that have already been done (not just Ernst’s activities) would have demonstrated this beyond all doubt, would they not?  What would there be left to say?  Why bother paying him any longer?

Back in the Real World

Of course the cynics are not suggesting that ALL scientific studies are just revealing pure truth!  How could they be, when some of them produce ‘findings’ that seem to confirm their prejudices, and some do not!  Clearly they cannot ALL be right!  So it becomes necessary to find crucial errors in the way some of those studies were designed or conducted, or the interpretation of the results…

“Really?  That can happen in Science?”

“Oh yes, but don’t worry!  Don’t lose your faith in the RCT and the Scientific Way!  If the results aren’t what we want them to be, clearly we need to do the Science differently until we get the results right!”

For how likely is it, really, that the cynic’s PREJUDICES might be wrong in the first place?  Exactly, that couldn’t happen, because a cynic knows everything already and most especially knows for sure that anyone who doesn’t agree with them is wrong. So there is never any need to question The Science That Says The Right Thing (bless the messenger), only the Bad Science That Says The Wrong Thing (denounce the author, attack the methodology, the interpretation… call people nasty names…) yeah that’s way more scientific.  In fact the entire history of Science is full of that sort of abusive slanging match… and that’s just how scientists talk to each other, they have even less regard for people who are prepared to think outside of scientific paradigms.  Those are just Voodoo People, and should probably be burned or something.

Science says Nothing

“The Science” says nothing, mainly because there is no such thing as “The Science”.  This doesn’t make science useless, of course it doesn’t.  But it does mean that with any kind of study you read about in The Daily Rag, if you don’t know who funded it, what they are trying to achieve and whether this is part of a wider programme which hasn’t been mentioned deliberately in the press release or whether there were other trials which the authors of the press release decided not to tell The Daily Rag about because they contradict the trials that Say The Right Thing… then you only know what the press release says.

All the questions I raised about Ernst, and how on Earth he ever came to occupy that position are perfectly valid, but I know we’ll never get answers that haven’t just come from a fawning interview with an adoring hack or some dodgy press release that came from the Ernst camp anyway.  And I really can’t be bothered to exchange another pointless word with the cynics who don’t even understand the difference between skepticism and cynicism.  It is impossible to communicate in any useful way with any person who has convinced themselves before the conversation even starts that you must be a fraud, a fantasist or an idiot because you don’t already agree with them.

So I thought I’d do one last post about the boring old duffer but every time I considered it, it just seemed like a chore.  Somewhere along the line I realised that although I found it very annoying at first that he said things about hypnotherapy that were totally wrong, he’s really just another dull academic who knows nothing about it.   The fact that someone decided he could have a title that makes it sound like he’s knowledgeable is irrelevant, he remains a nobody in the field of complementary therapy, his own university don’t even seem to like him, just about everything he says is negative and no ordinary member of the public I’ve ever mentioned him to has heard of him at all, so although he’s beloved by a few hacks and a small platoon of cynics, the rest of the world could not give a toss.

Therefore: neither do I.

practice website

The Drug That Never Was 

Chantix Champix 6

Many of the rave reviews of Chantix (Champix) are posted early on in the smoker’s use of the drug. Short-term smoking cessation with this drug is quite common, but the success-rate at 6 months is much lower. Bad reactions often happen after many weeks, not always straight away, so some of the sufferers of serious side effects may have already posted rave reviews of the very drug that then went on to damage them, innocently encouraging others to decide to try it. Some sufferers report only becoming ill during a second course of the drug.

Chantix Champix Reviews: How long does the suffering have to go on?

*Update: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

**Update 2, 4th November 2011:

The American Food & Drug Administration (FDA) were reported in the Business section of the Washington Post as reassuring smokers that Chantix (known as Champix everywhere outside the USA) does not increase psychiatric problems, according to two small studies involving 26,000 smokers.  Since this flies in the face of everything else they know about Chantix already, it is surely irresponsible to say such a thing at this time, because the caveats added to the story further down do not carry anything like the weight of the inevitable headline.  Meanwhile, this article in the Daily Mail reports a study which states exactly the opposite.

Why?  Because the Daily Mail is not bending over backward to assist the pharmaceutical industry – even at the expense of smokers’ lives, if that’s what it takes – whereas the FDA very clearly is.  The testing and approvals system is corrupt as hell, using every possible means of dragging their feet so that Chantix/Champix stays on the market and remains ‘approved’ regardless of how many individual smokers’ lives are ruined by the drug.

The Truth Will Out Campaign has been trying to alert smokers (and doctors) to the dangers of this drug since Autumn of 2008, but just imagine the frustration of this commentator on the new Daily Mail report:

“Oh now they make this a huge statement. My mom used it in mid 2007. She ended up in a mental hospital. Thanks Champix. This stuff shouldn’t even be on the market!!! I still can’t understand why it is, with all these accounts of suicide! I read horror story’s back then after this happened to my mom about people killing themselves or having illness such as bi-polar disorder activated in them. My rule with all drugs is, if it hasn’t been on the market for more then 10 years…DO NOT take it. You never want to be the guinea pig. Sorry for all those who ended their lives because they were manipulated this drug.

– Danielle, USA,
3/11/2011 6:08″**


Chantix Champix 6

by hypnotherapist Chris Holmes

*Update: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

Recently a couple of contributors to this blog – who have started to take Champix or Chantix themselves and feel fine on it – have commented that the page they are reading here “seems very negative”.

This is my sixth blog post on Champix/Chantix. I check all comments that come in, and with the obvious exception of spam each comment is added to the site, which means that what you read here is exactly what I have received. If I suspect a comment is bogus I will still add it to the site, and then say why I think it is bogus. Even when it seems I’m mistaken about that, I leave the whole exchange up there for everyone to read, I don’t cover it up. Sometimes it is hard to tell what is genuine and what is not.

So if someone suggests that it seems too negative, I suggest that they read all the comments that follow all six blog posts, the majority of which follow the original post entitled “Champix/Chantix” and the fourth one “Champix/Chantix 4: Enough Already”.

Now look at this:

Review Centre

You might reasonably ask the question “Why do these reviews mostly seem very positive when the ones on some other blogs like Truth Will Out mostly seem pretty negative, often alarmingly so?”

The answer seems to lie in the fact that many of these ‘rave’ reviews are posted very early on in the Champix users experience.  The fact that they feel no urge to smoke at that stage makes a very big impression, and if side effects are minimal at that point it is not surprising that the review they post is bordering on ecstatic.

But we know from the trials that at least half of those smokers will start again when they come off the medication, so this kind of early assessment is premature.  We also know from the comments that have come in to truth Will Out that although nasty side effects can kick in quite quickly, it is more common for them to happen with prolonged use beyond the six-week or eight-week point.

Now read the latest comment to pop up in my mailbox:

Sheanin wrote:

“I’m so glad I found this website – I only wish I had found it a little sooner.

You have confirmed what I had started to suspect myself as a user of Champix. Although I had only smoked on and off for about 6 years, I was prescribed the drug to help me quit a few weeks ago. As I was desperate to quit once and for all, I went for it. I soon wished I hadn’t.

Last week, I had to admit to myself that I was quickly becoming ill on so many fronts that I had to see my doctor again – and fast. I was told to stop taking Champix immediately. I had spent just over a week feeling as though I had been locked into a tiny little cocoon somewhere in the furthest corners of my mind while a robot took me over.

Sure, I got little waves of euphoria here and there each time I reached a milestone – but with each milestone that euphoria would crash to an even deeper low. In addition, my body was going to pieces; I was constantly nauseated, constantly wishing I could curl up and sleep, suffering from aches and pains absolutely everywhere – it was never ending. As a single mum to two small children, one of whom is disabled, I knew – even from the depths of that little cocoon – that I couldn’t let things continue.

I grew up around depression and mental illness and I had always sworn to myself that my children would never be exposed to those things. So, upon seeing the doctor, I was told to come off the drug immediately, which I did four days ago. And even now, I am suffering the consequences. Since that day, I have gone through what I now know to be terrible withdrawal; every side effect suffered during those few weeks has returned with a vengeance. I have been almost permanently locked in my bathroom, unable to eat, unable to look after my children, permanently in pain. At one point, I felt like I was dying.

All I can say is that I am so relieved to have come off this drug, even if I am still suffering now. I’m sure this sickness will pass and I’m positive that I need no crutches whatsoever to stop me from smoking at this stage, I haven’t had a smoke in almost a month and now associate cigarettes with the sheer torture I’ve gone through during the last few days. If I’d never started smoking in the first place, I’d never have been introduced to the absolute terror that is Champix and I wouldn’t be sitting here now clutching my abdomen with tears in my eyes. This drug should be banned completely; the government slaps scary pictures on cigarette packets but continues to sell them – while nobody gets thoroughly warned about Champix and what it’s highly likely to do to your body.

I’d sooner spend the rest of my life licking tar from the footpath.”

Not Worth The Risk

My point about Champix is really very simple: why risk a hideous experience like that if you have not already tried all the methods that CANNOT POSSIBLY do that to you?  Especially when hypnotherapy, the Allen Carr method and acupuncture all produce better results anyway! (See Evidence section.)

To save money?

And to all those sweet innocents who have suggested brightly that if they feel a bit funny they’ll simply stop taking it, over to Sheanin:

“I was told to come off the drug immediately, which I did four days ago. And even now, I am suffering the consequences. Since that day, I have gone through what I now know to be terrible withdrawal; every side effect suffered during those few weeks has returned with a vengeance. I have been almost permanently locked in my bathroom, unable to eat, unable to look after my children, permanently in pain. At one point, I felt like I was dying.”

And some people have.  Take risks if you want, people, but don’t kid yourself this could never happen to you.  I mean even with Russian Roulette, if there’s six chambers and only one bullet, the odds are very much in your favour that you won’t die the first time you pull that trigger.  Wanna play?

Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was

safer alternative

Related posts:

The truth about why this drug is misconceived anyway, like NRT

Two weeks on Champix

Champix Chantix murders and suicide

Champix Chantix suicide

Champix Chantix seizures and epilepsy

44% success rate? No, 86% failure rate for Champix Chantix

More smokers’ comments follow this post

More smokers’ reviews of Champix Chantix

My original post on Champix Chantix April 2008, and almost 300 comments that followed

Article: Why willpower is irrelevant!

The Truth Will Out, Pfizer!

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.

Advertising Standards Slam Bogus NHS Claim

The Advertising Standards Agency block an attempt by the NHS to suggest in a promotional leaflet that smokers are “twice as likely” to stop smoking with NRT and “four times more likely” with NHS Stop Smoking Services because the claims are “misleading”.

by Chris Holmes

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) have blocked an NHS advertising leaflet which claimed that smokers were “twice as likely” to quit with Nicotine Replacement products and “four times as likely” to quit if they also used NHS Stop Smoking Services. For the very first time since the Truth Will Out Campaign was launched, the claims have been rejected because quitting success implies a permanent solution but the NHS were relying on the results at only four weeks, which the agency concluded was not the same thing at all, and was therefore likely to mislead the public.

I’ll say it is. And since we now know from the Borland report that the results dwindle to 6% success at the end of twelve months, which is the same result as a number of studies have found for willpower alone, we feel vindicated in claiming that NRT doesn’t work at all in the long run, and is therefore a complete waste of taxpayers’ money and the NHS should abandon it altogether. Instead they’re going to waste more valuable resources printing up leaflets that say something like: “Did you know that nicotine skin patches and chewing gum can be effective in aiding withdrawal from nicotine?” (The bit in bold type is a direct quote from the British Medical Association’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, Dorling Kindersley 2002.)  And now over to the March Hare, for the weather…

Here’s the link to the ASA story:

The Argus

**Update, January 2012: Harvard University publish a study that demonstrates NO USEFUL EFFECT from any form of NRT.  Just as I said in the book in 2007, and on this site from March 2008.

Hypnotherapy is the easiest way of all to quit smoking, and despite the best efforts of Edzard Ernst to suggest otherwise, we will establish this as scientific fact and common knowledge in the end.  The sooner the better.  Nicotine: The Drug That Never Was fully explains the reasons for the complete failure of the medical approach and exactly how hypnotherapy wipes out compulsive habits like smoking, usually in a single session. As it says in the book, there is no such thing as “therapeutic nicotine”. Give it up, Doc.

more info about hypnotherapy for smoking cessation

Killer Chantix Champix Isn’t Magic

by Chris Holmes

*Update: If you or a loved one has suffered a bad reaction to Champix and you are based in the U.K., you can report it to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) here. The more people do that the clearer the true picture will become. Protect others! Report it.*

The weird and wonderful internet just threw up another amusing splinter of craziness in the form of an email message, sent through the Truth Will Out Contact Form facility, from a website called ChampixMagic.  It purported to be from a person called Jay, and it said:

Jay wrote:
Dear sir/webmaster,
I am the responsible person for link exchange at  I visited your site and feel, it’s a quality one and relevant to my site theme. So I hope that you would consider link exchange with us. If you determine that a link to our site is appropriate, Please let me know whether you are interested or not. If yes please provide your site info.

I find it very hard to believe that Jay has ever visited the Truth Will Out site.  I think it is much more probable that this message is sent out automatically to any site that mentions Champix a lot.  There follows here an excerpt from one of my earlier posts that mentioned it under the heading CHANTIX CHAMPIX KILLS, BUT A.S.H. WON’T TELL THE SMOKERS, and it also mentions the ChampixMagic site:

Now look at this, which purports to be a “Trusted Information Bank” about Champix (Chantix).  At the base of the page, a disclaimer states “We don’t encourage the buying and selling of Chantix without prescription”, which is a weird thing to claim when you can buy it right there, via the site!  It mentions nothing about any dangers, but says:

“Chantix is the latest blockbuster drug approved by the FDA on May 11, 2006 that is indicated as an aid to quit smoking. Manufactured by Pfizer Inc., Chantix offers a new approach, different from the existing smoking cessation therapies to quit smoking.”

It does not mention that the drug is now under investigation by the FDA for serious side effects.   Instead it uses crude scare-tactics in the first two, very badly written paragraphs about the dangers of smoking to suggest that Chantix is your ‘only hope’, if you are a smoker, to escape ‘certain death’. The site is called ChantixMagic and it is dangerously devoid of any serious warnings about how this medication could wreck your life or even end it.

In reality, Champix is a pretty faint hope because it doesn’t work for at least 80% of smokers even with all that hype.  In contrast, expert hypnotherapy has a 60% success rate in first sessions alone.  If you include the successes that took more than one session (some do, it’s inevitable, people are not all the same) then the overall success rate is well over 80% PROVIDED the therapist is a smoking cessation specialist with plenty of experience.

I should also qualify the above statement by saying that I’m talking about success rates in countries in which tobacco use is in general decline.  I work in the U.K. where only about 26% of adults still smoke, so smoking is not the norm.  In countries like Greece and China where there is a much greater proportion of smokers, the long-term success-rate of hypnotherapy would not be as high because the influence of other people smoking has a bearing on relapse rates for all quitting methods, including hypnotherapy – as does the general social perception of what is “the norm”.

So you see, ChampixMagic, I already have a link to your site but I don’t think it was quite what you had in mind.  Since all you want to do is sell more prescription medications without prescriptions or proper warnings regardless of whether it harms or kills people, I suggest you go throw yourself off a cliff.

safer alternative


Drug-taking versus Therapy

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.

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:

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 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 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