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How many times have you told yourself you want to give up smoking, and how many times have you then found a reason to ‘enjoy’ another cigarette? If this is not you, then perhaps it’s somebody you know?

On the 13th of March, National No Smoking Day, the British Heart Foundation hopes that 1000s of people will quit smoking, and is promoting the benefits of becoming smoke free in their campaign ‘Swap Fags for Swag’.

It’s interesting to look at the thought processes behind why many people struggle to stick with a decision to give up, despite being presented with all the disadvantages of continuing.

Local Hypnotherapist, Liane Ulbricht-Kazan, explains: “Even though generally people know about lots of the dangers, and certainly notice the cost, there’s another part of the brain, which enforces the short-term perceived benefits of smoking; those associated with enjoyment, sociability, stress-release, relaxation etc. For many smokers, cigarettes are the good friend who’s always by their side.”

The British Heart Foundation is a wealth of information about the health and cost benefits of giving up smoking. For example, how quickly breathing and circulation improve after quitting, how soon nicotine levels reduce, and how a 20-a-day smoker can save £2,555 within just one year. These are all very convincing arguments.

So why is it that people still struggle to quit when physical addiction is said to make up only 5-10% of the overall stop smoking challenge?

It all becomes clearer when we understand what’s going on within the brain and Solution Focused Hypnotherapy explains this very well. It’s about helping to reassess and remove the contradictions in the brain where one part wants to stop, and another does not.

These are referred to as the intellectual brain, which comes up with the ‘anti-smoking lobby’, and the so-called primitive original brain, which promotes the ‘pro-smoking lobby’. The intellectual brain will for instance take full account of what the British Heart Foundation says, whilst the primitive brain comes up with the reasons for continuing the smoking habit. This is the source of what many people tell themselves. For example, I’ve earned a cigarette break, I’m only a social smoker, I keep fit in other ways, I deserve something for myself…

Liane adds “Essentially, we can always come up with a justification for our actions if we want to. So, when intending to quit smoking, people need to be clear about whether they wish to smoke or not, as they are free to choose which messages they listen to. The primitive brain’s ‘pro-lobby’ will not shut up on day one, and will continue to come up with half truths and propaganda to encourage the smoking habit. However, once a person has clearly taken the decision to quit, Hypnotherapy can be very effective in supporting the ‘anti-smoking lobby’, bringing both the conscious and the sub-conscious minds together to focus on the same goal. This helps people to catch themselves before they again fall into the old habit trap”.

For more information about what you can do to support the No Smoking Day campaign visit