Stop smoking

Written by Bonnie Gifford
Bonnie Gifford
Hypnotherapy Directory Content Team

Reviewed by Neil Brown
Last updated 25th April 2024 | Next update due 25th April 2027

Making the decision to stop smoking can feel like a big challenge. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that are available to support you on your journey. Hypnotherapy, in particular, can be an effective method in challenging unhelpful mindsets and negative behaviours associated with smoking, helping you to live a healthier life.

Considering giving up smoking?

Before you try to quit, it’s important to recognise why you want to stop and to be sure you are making this decision for yourself. Trying to quit when you’re not ready or for someone else can often lead to relapse, frustration, and feelings of failure. Hypnotherapy for smoking is most effective when the person really wants to quit and is determined to succeed.

Hypnotherapy to stop smoking

A great number of people find hypnotherapy for stopping smoking an effective treatment. The method works to break the negative behaviours and thinking patterns associated with smoking, such as smoking to relieve stress. It is these negative thoughts and behaviours that often prevent people from successfully giving up. Quitting, in itself, does not deal with these underlying issues.

So, when a person decides to stop smoking, the key aspect is to let go of the routine and change how they view cigarettes. Breaking an addiction like this is a challenge; it won’t be easy, especially if it is a lifelong habit, and changing how you think about something can be difficult.

Find out more about the research behind hypnosis and hypnotherapy to stop smoking.

Hypnotherapy focuses on this change. The hypnotherapist will support you and guide you through the motions, you’re no longer alone in trying to quit. Because of this, hypnotherapy is fast becoming one of the most popular forms of treatment. The ultimate aim of hypnosis for smoking is to empower people to take control of their addiction and improve their health.

What to expect from a stop-smoking hypnosis session

Generally speaking, stop-smoking hypnotherapy sessions will begin with an initial consultation. This provides the hypnotherapist with a better understanding of your specific smoking triggers and habits. 

Once the session is underway, your hypnotherapist will guide you into a deep, relaxed state. During this time, the mind is more open to suggestions and changes, which will help you alter your thought patterns and behaviours associated with smoking. You will become more in tune with your internal experiences (such as how you think and feel) and feel somewhat detached from the environment around you. Many describe the hypnotic state as if they're deeply engrossed in a book.

Once you're relaxed, the hypnotherapist uses specific techniques to suggest changes to the way you think and feel about smoking. A technique often used in stop-smoking sessions is visualisation. For example, you may be asked to picture yourself as a healthy, non-smoker to help you realise the benefits of stopping smoking. They may also ask you to visualise smoking a cigarette but imagining an unpleasant taste or smell. This can help build an association - when you think of smoking, these unpleasant thoughts will come as well.

After the hypnotherapist brings you back out of the hypnotic state, they may teach you cues and other self-hypnosis techniques to support you beyond the hypnotherapy room - helping you to resist the urge to smoke in day-to-day life. 

How many hypnotherapy sessions does it take to stop smoking?

The number of sessions needed can vary from person to person. While for some people, one session is enough to quit smoking (or continue the journey alone), others may benefit from follow-up sessions.

By addressing the underlying factors that contribute to smoking, such as stress, anxiety, or emotional triggers, hypnotherapy will equip you with effective coping mechanisms and alternative strategies for managing any cravings.

-  Hypnotherapist Juliet Hollingsworth (MSc), 'Using hypnotherapy to quit smoking'

How much does stop-smoking hypnotherapy cost? 

Hypnotherapists typically charge between £50-£100 for a 50 to 60-minute session. Some professionals may offer a free initial consultation. Others may provide a package of sessions at a reduced cost.

Stop smoking hypnosis can often cost more than a typical hypnotherapy session. The cost of hypnotherapy sessions to stop smoking can vary, depending on the location of the therapist, if sessions are in-person or online and how many sessions you need. To determine how much sessions are likely to cost, we recommend contacting a professional directly.

Hypnotherapists who can help with smoking cessation

Finding a hypnotherapist

If you would like to consider hypnotherapy to help you stop smoking, the next step is to find a professional. It may feel daunting at first, but it could be the first step to a much healthier life. It's important to find a hypnotherapist that resonates with you, so we encourage our members to fill their profiles with as much information as possible. This way you can learn more about them, how they work and if they are the person to help you.

How will I know if they are qualified?

On Hypnotherapy Directory, we have a proof policy in place to ensure all professionals listed on our website have provided proof of qualifications and insurance or membership with a professional body. You can use our advanced search to find a hypnotherapist near you. When you find a professional you believe can help, simply send them an email.

Can you quit smoking through hypnosis alone?

Stopping smoking is a big challenge. It takes more than just willpower to give up. There are many different options available to help you quit - from campaigns such as Stoptober to local support groups, therapy to medication. 

Many people find hypnotherapy is enough to break the habit, while others prefer to combine the treatment with other methods such as NRT (nicotine replacement therapy), vaping or medication. Of course, everyone is different and what may work for one person, may not work for you. By exploring all options, you should be able to find a suitable and effective treatment. The best thing is to speak to people - friends, family, and other people who have quit. Discussing your options with your doctor and hypnotherapist can also help you understand what may be best for you.

Why stop smoking?

Cigarette smoking is one of the greatest single causes of illness and premature death in the UK. Worldwide, the number is far greater. Tobacco is killing around eight million people each year, while almost one million deaths are due to non-smokers being exposed to secondhand smoke. Despite nearly 75,000 people in the UK dying from smoking-related illnesses each year, according to UK government research, around 13-15% of adults still smoke.

Though, it seems things are changing. 40 years ago, 51% of men and 41% of women were smokers. These rates have more than halved, with 12.9% of UK adults smoking, and 62% saying they have never smoked (according to Action on Smoking and Health).  

Smoking increases the risk of developing a wide range of health ailments and diseases. Unfortunately, the habit doesn’t only harm the smoker’s health, it can also harm the people around them. If smoking around children and babies, for example, they become vulnerable to many smoking-related health problems, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and the risk of cot death will increase.

Adults who endure passive smoking for a long period of time are also at an increased risk of heart disease and lung cancer. Tobacco is also an irritant, potentially making conditions such as asthma worse.

Stopping smoking can help improve your health, enhance your quality of life, and reduce your risk of premature death. 

What are the benefits of quitting smoking?

There are many benefits to stopping smoking, including:

  • more energy
  • improved immune system
  • longer life expectancy
  • better breathing
  • less stress
  • younger-looking skin
  • more money
  • reduced risk of cancers, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, and vascular
  • disease
  • saving money 

Stopping smoking also prevents harm from coming to your friends and family through second-hand smoke. Passive smoking can be particularly harmful to children and babies, putting them at further risk of developing chest illnesses and infections, reduced lung function, middle ear disease, asthma attacks, and sudden and unexpected death in infancy (SUDI). It also reduces the likelihood of your children and teens starting to smoke, as studies have shown children living with someone who smokes are much more likely to start themselves.

What happens to your body when you stop smoking?

Below, we explore the time since the last cigarette and how it affects the body:

  • 20 minutes: Blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
  • 12 hours: Carbon monoxide levels drop back to normal.
  • 24 hours: The body starts to clear out the mucus build-up in the lungs.
  • 72 hours: Breathing becomes easier and energy levels increase.
  • 1 month: Appearance of the skin improves.
  • 3 to 9 months: Lung function can improve by up to 10%.
  • 1 year: The risk of suffering from a heart attack falls to about half of that of a smoker.
  • 10 years: The risk of developing lung cancer falls to about half of that of a smoker.
  • 15 years: The risk of suffering a heart attack falls to the same as of a non-smoker.

What are the risks and side effects of stopping smoking?

Stopping smoking can lead to a number of withdrawal symptoms. These can be uncomfortable, but they will fade as long as you remain smoke-free. Having ‘just one more’ or ‘just a last’ cigarette can restart the withdrawal process, drawing out the unpleasant side effects. These side effects can include:

  • cravings or urges to smoke
  • feelings of irritation, upset or being grouchy
  • feeling restless, on edge, or having trouble concentrating
  • feeling anxious or depressed
  • difficulty sleeping
  • feeling hungrier
  • weight gain (if replacing your smoking habit unintentionally with eating or snacking) 

While the side effects can vary from person to person, withdrawal symptoms typically peak within the first three days, lasting for two weeks. Many report feeling few to no symptoms once they have past the first month of quitting smoking.

Remember, it’s never too late to stop smoking. Whatever age you are, if you decide to stop, your health will benefit. The sooner you quit, the faster the body can recover and the risk of developing serious health conditions will decrease.

Useful resources 

Further reading

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