Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Cold Hard Truth: Smoking is a Choice

I saw this story today from the Associated Press:

Later in the article, it states the following:

In closing arguments, Hess attorneys Gary Paige and Alex Alvarez said Stuart Hess tried for 40 years to quit his heavy smoking, even trying hypnosis. But they said the powerful nicotine forced Hess to continue smoking even as he underwent chemotherapy before he died in 1997 at age 55.

"People smoke because they're addicted, not because they choose to," Paige said. "Nobody wants to be addicted to cigarettes. It's as addictive as cocaine and heroin."

This is beyond ridiculous.

Before I begin to explain why it's ridiculous, please understand that to disagree with the conclusions of a jury and the attorneys quoted above is not to be void of compassion for the deceased. On the contrary, I feel that subscribing to the above beliefs (and that's what they are - beliefs) would be an insult to the millions of smokers and non-smokers in the world who have struggled with the habit or are seeking to quit. Why? Because if you believe the jurors and attorneys, smokers don't have a choice - they are "forced" to smoke... as in "the powerful nicotine forced Hess to continue smoking" until his death.

Now, I wasn't there at the trial, so I don't know what evidence was presented that allowed jurors to conclude that Mr. Hess never willingly purchased, lit or smoked cigarettes of his own free will, and that, in fact, the nicotine was fully responsible for his habit.

However, having worked with many, many smokers in my hypnotherapy practice, I can say with the utmost confidence and sincerity that people smoke because they choose to.

If you don't believe me, use your imagination for a moment. Let's play "what if" and see what we come up with...

What if Mr. Hess had been denied access to cigarettes completely? That's right... he would have suffered for a while, before the poison was completely removed from his system and the habit was broken. Then, he would have felt better.

How can I be so sure of this? Well, what else would have happened?

If smoking were as addictive as cocaine or heroin (and there is evidence that cocaine is not as addictive as it is commonly believed to be), why do 99% of the smokers I meet admit that they often sleep 6-8 hours at night without so much as a single "craving?" Why are they able to get on an airplane and fly overseas without smoking for 10-15 hours, without going into convulsions? Heroin addicts can't do this. Smokers can.

"People smoke because they're addicted, not because they choose to," Paige said.

Let's re-work that statement and make it true:

People smoke because they choose to, not because they're addicted.

Of course, if that were the case, it is highly unlikely that Mr. Paige would receive as big of a payday.

This isn't a question of right or wrong on the part of Big Tobacco (note that this Stop Smoking Hypnotherapist is actually siding with Philip Morris on this one). Everyone knows they're deceptive and irresponsible. It's a question of personal power and responsibility.

The moment we accept that "the powerful nicotine forced Hess to continue smoking" is the moment that we surrender all belief in free will and personal responsibility. The next logical conclusion is that we are powerless to change our situation in life, and that forces outside of our control must change things for us.

That is not the world we live in, and it's certainly not the world that I (or anyone) would like to live in.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chantix Suicide: "Something Demanded I Do It"

Three Rivers, MI: When Melinda F. started reading other people's stories about Chantix side effects, she started to cry. That was because she had not realized that her use of Chantix may have caused her suicide attempt in November, 2007. Melinda says that she had never
experienced anything like the depression she went through while taking Chantix.

"I started [Chantix] in mid-August of 2007 and I quit smoking in September or October," Melinda says. "It was probably about 30 days in and I started to get this thought in my head. It was the exact same thought every night, almost as if something was ordering me to go into the kitchen, get a knife and cut my wrists. Every night it was the same thing: it told me what I had to do and how to do it.

"I went to a psychiatrist and was put on Wellbutrin. A week later I cut my wrists and I never related the incident back to the Chantix. Then, I saw a commercial about Chantix and suicidal thoughts. I got goosebumps; I was almost in tears reading other people's stories.

"I was never told about the side effects; if I knew, I wouldn't have taken the Chantix. It was like I wouldn't be happy until I cut my wrists, it was like something was demanding me to do it. But a couple of days after stopping the medication, I never had that thought again. Now, I'm scared of taking any medications because the side effects scare me to death. I don't like taking anything.

Click here for the full story.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

FREE Stop Smoking Event on Feb 28th

That's right... I'm hosting a follow-up event to the free stop smoking hypnosis seminar on January 4th. This time it's a smaller gathering - limited to 10 people - that will take place at my home office in Marietta.

Here are the details:

What: FREE Stop Smoking Hypnosis Event
Where: Pure Hypnosis, LLC
When: Feb 28th, 2009
Time: 2:00pm-4:00pm
Register: Stop Smoking Solution Meetup Group

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hypnosis CD's: The Value of Reinforcement

This clip is from a my stop smoking hypnosis seminar on World Hypnotism Day. Here, I talk about why it's important to practice self-hypnosis (via the use of cd's) on a daily basis in order to enjoy the highest degree of success.