By Conrad Adams, Clinical Hypnotherapist

If you think that smoking is no longer a threat to society, think again! Even with all the publicity today about the health hazards of the use of tobacco, smoking remains high on the list of the causes of death not only in America, but worldwide. According to sources such as the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association, smoking kills six people a minute worldwide!

There are two principal reasons people smoke; identification and replacement. Identification smokers indulge in the habit because others whom he admires do so - peers, parents, entertainers, sports figures, etc. Identification smoking is the most common and easiest to eliminate.

Replacement smoking occurs when smoking is used to replace some deficit in life - lack of companionship, love acceptance, self-esteem, security, independence, etc. - or to replace some pre-existing habit such as overeating, anxiety, boredom, etc. Replacement smokers often derive sensual gratification from smoking - feeling the cigarette, tapping the pack, seeing the flame of the lighter or the curling of rising smoke, or the smell of burning tobacco. Lighting the cigarette in itself becomes a ritual. Replacement smoking is quite often a true and severe addition.

Since smoking is both physical and mental, success in a stop-smoking effort must change not only the mental attitude of the smoker, but the physical reaction as well. Of all the options available to stop smoking, hypnosis is perhaps the easiest and most effective way to eliminate the habit because it can help change both the mental attitude and the physical reaction.

Today smoking cessation runs a close second to weight reduction as America's reason to use hypnosis. And there is a logical explanation of both how and why hypnosis works to discontinue the smoking habit.

Our habits are stored and operated by the subconscious mind, which is like a computer. It records everything we experience, but it doesn't reason like the conscious mind. It just reacts. And over a period of time as we continue a habit (good or bad), it gets the idea that the habit is suppose to be a part of our nature. The habit become difficult to break.

Hypnosis distracts the conscious mind and allows reprogramming of the subconscious mind to bring about new behaviors. For hypnosis to be effective, a readiness to discontinue the habit and a firm believe that hypnosis will help break the habit is vital. Then, with repetition of positive suggestions given to your subconscious mind, the habit can be broken.

Some smokers can discontinue the habit with only one or two sessions of hypnosis. However, the majority of people will need a number of sessions - three, four, or five - to bring about the desired change. And there is a small percentage of people who need to smoke and may need more extensive hypnotherapy sessions.

For all smokers individual sessions are more advantageous. Individual sessions have the advantage of being adjustable to deal with the cause of the smoker's habit, the gratification provided, the characteristics of the smoker and similar matters that are not possible in group sessions.

As with all matters of physical, mental, emotional or spiritual wellness, be sure to seek the help of a properly trained professional.