Can Hypnosis Actually Help You Quit Smoking?

Even if you've never smoked a cigarette in your life, you're probably aware of the downsides of smoking, from the damaging effect it can have on health to addiction. Moreover, you're probably aware how difficult it is to stop smoking. Those who are trying to break the habit often try everything. Some go cold turkey, some opt for patches, and some even turn to hypnotism. But can hypnosis actually help you quit smoking? 

Firstly, it's important to understand what hypnotism is. As the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists explained (via The Atlantic), "Hypnosis is simply a state of relaxed focus. It is a natural state. In fact, each of us enters such a state — sometimes called a trance state — at least twice a day: once when we are falling asleep, and once when we are waking up." According to C. Roy Hunter in his book The Art of Hypnosis: Mastering Basic Techniques, who was a student of the hypnotist and author Charles Tebbetts, Tebbets agreed, describing hypnotism as "a natural state of mind and induced normally in everyday living much more often than it is induced artificially. Every time we become engrossed in a novel or a motion picture, we are in a natural hypnotic trance." 

Hypnosis works on a case by case basis when it comes to smoking

However, Hunter claims it should actually be referred to as "self-hypnosis." In other words, the hypnotherapist is only there is assist in the process of quitting. The person trying to quit smoking needs to do most of the work. Mark Hall, a professional hypnotherapist and licensed social worker, agrees. "Hypnosis is not magic for most of us," he told The Atlantic. "Hypnosis is just a tool that helps in making what you're trying to do easier."

According to WebMD, the most common way hypnosis is conducted is using Spiegel's method, which gets patients to associate smoking with negative things, for example, the effect it has on health, while also focusing on the importance of a healthy body to live a full life.

Ultimately, using hypnosis to help you quit smoking can work but result varies on a case by case. Hall claims it works on about 50 percent of his patients that are trying to break the habit but unfortunately there is no way to determine who is the best candidate. The only way to know if it will work for you is to actually try it, and most of the time you'll need to adopt a few other strategies to achieve the desired outcome.