The big smoke-out

By | Health & Wellness
Smoking is being reduced yearly. Credit@Serge Melkiviaflickr.com

Recent studies suggest that the smoking ban is encouraging people to quit the habit

Research, published recently by the American Heart Association, shows that since the US smoking legislation, heart patients have been reduced respectively by 15 percent and respiratory patients by 24 percent. Similar reductions have been seen in England since the smoking ban was introduced back in July 2007.

There’s also productive news for women who change their habits by the age of 30. Their lives may only be affected by one month due to smoking, according to research from the University of Oxford, published in the medical journal The Lancet.

Smoking still may be something to change in this country. The amount of people passing associated with the habit exceed 100,000, and around 10 million people still smoke, however 43 per cent of current smokers have sought help according to www.hscic.gov.uk.

Of these individuals, 21 percent are men and 20 percent women. Two-thirds of all smokers start before their 18th birthdays. However, some 22 percent of women and 28 percent of men are now ex-smokers, and many more want to give up. The government set up a campaign, which promoted altering how much you smoke for 28 days, saw sign-ups of over 250,000.This is all encouraging news for smokers who might want to change their smoking habits. How might people change the behaviour?

It’s complimentary to go to the NHS Stop Smoking Service, which provides nicotine patches, gum, or prescription drugs. And some people may find that electronic or e-cigarettes are an effective replacement, however because they still involve inhaling nicotine they’re [finding challenges being] endorsed by the health service.

Film star Anjelica Huston swears by the psychological approach adopted by Allen Carr’s Easyway, stating that it ‘achieved for me a thing that I thought was [far from] possible — to give up a 30-year smoking habit literally overnight.‘

Michael McIntyre also recommends it to anyone who wants to give up the ‘[far from clean] habit.’

Allen Carr’s Easyway involves a five to six-hour session, during which smoking is actually permitted until the last ‘ritual’ cigarette. The company boasts a 90 percent success rate, with 50 percent still abstaining after one year following the £240 session.

“We question all the assumptions and myths and challenge the reasons people give for smoking — calming, relaxing, confidence-boosting. A 20-minute hypnotherapy session also reinforces the message,” says John Dicey, Worldwide Director of Allen Carr’s Easyway.

Hypnosis may be popular in its own right when it comes to affecting the habit. This may be often combined with NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), which gives people tools and techniques to change behaviour and beliefs. “The key is to change behaviour, beliefs and lifestyle. People are often linked psychologically to their habits,” says Tim Martin of The Mind Boutique, a service that helps people change their smoking habits using hypnotism and NLP. “They need to challenge the lifestyle association they have with the smoking habit. For instance, if they have a cigarette break at work, they still need to take 10 minutes even when they’ve given up smoking.” The cost of a session is £365.

Many rehab clinics across the UK and US follow the NADA (National Acupuncture Detoxification Association) five-point acupuncture protocol to assist clients in changing their smoking habits. The method involves placing five needles in each ear with each point of placement corresponding to a different part of the body. The London Acupuncture Space charges £75-£85 for the service.

Charlotte Steed of the London Acupuncture Space explains the rationale behind the process: “One point influences respiration, which is particularly relevant to smokers, another corresponds to the liver where nicotine is detoxified, and another helps to calm the mind. One of the points helps to promote relaxation as it stimulates the nervous system, easing withdrawal symptoms significantly.”

It takes just eight hours after giving up smoking for nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood to reduce by half and for oxygen levels to return to normal. After 24 hours, carbon monoxide and nicotine are eliminated from the body, and a day later the ability to taste and smell improves. After a year, a fatal heart condition is halved. Lung conditions potential goes down after ten years. Fifteen years later, heart function raises to the level of someone who has eluded smoking.

The incentives to change are clearly only outnumbered by the diversity of approaches. There may be still one other popular option: good old-fashioned willpower.

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