It’s Time For A New Non Smoking Strategy.

The 50th year anniversary of surgeon general’s warning regarding the harmful effects of cigarette smoking is next year in 2014 and an opportunity to reflect on the progress and to possibly define the next steps.

History of Surgeon General Smoking Warning Label*

The 1964 report on smoking and health had an impact on public attitudes and policy. A Gallup Survey conducted in 1958 found that only 44 percent of Americans believed smoking caused cancer, while 78 percent believed so by 1968. In the course of a decade, it had become common knowledge that smoking damaged health, and mounting evidence of health risks gave (Surgeon General) Terry’s 1964 report public resonance. Yet, while the report proclaimed that, “cigarette smoking is a health hazard of sufficient importance in the United States to warrant appropriate remedial action,” it remained silent on concrete remedies. That challenge fell to politicians. In 1965, Congress required all cigarette packages distributed in the United States to carry a health warning, and since 1970 this warning is made in the name of the Surgeon General. In 1969, cigarette advertising on television and radio was banned, effective September 1970.

Since that time, the number of smokers has dropped from 4 in 5 adults to 1 in 4. Progress? Certainly, but we need to do more. Banning ads from the media and adding warning labels aren’t enough to stop the habit from starting in the first place.

Does this cigarette make my body sexy?

In 1970 the media stopped airing ads to promote cigarettes, 50 years later do we need a new strategy to stop the lure of cigarettes.  Right now, they are portrayed as sexy in many form of electronic entertainment, just watch an episode of AMC’s Mad Men, and you’ll probably want to smoke, I know I do.

What happens when you are viewing a show is that you naturally shift into the alpha state of mind where imprints affect your reality in an automatic way.  So if you perceive yourself as a guy that needs to be a little more cool and you see the lead actor smoking, there is a message that maybe what you need is to smoke.  It is the same thing that happens when we watch commercials.  They are designed to appeal to an emotional need and then once that is tapped, they fire in the message to BUY THIS.  I know I was in advertising 20 years before becoming a hypnotist.

The trend towards e-cigarettes

Today there is concern about new younger smokers and the trend of smoking multiple types of products from cigars to electronic cigarettes as explained on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show.  She talked with Dr. Tim McAfee the director of Office of Smoking and Health with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He discussed the trend in electronic cigarettes and how some people may be using them to transition off traditional cigarettes. That is promising however, they are currently not regulated and there are hundreds of manufacturers of these products. This doesn’t seem safe to me.  He also presented the idea that a smoker would still use a traditional cigarette but choose an electronic cigarette when in a smokeless environment. Is that really a solution?

Just give it a trendy name and people will want it.

One of the listener’s comments was advice to stop calling them e-cigarettes, it sounds too hip, just call them electronic cigarettes because that is what they are.

I believe there are three new strategies to continue to reduce the number of smokers.

1)    Reduce or eliminate the lure of cigarettes as portrayed in mass media.

2)    Promote the use of alternative methods like hypnosis and acupuncture to assist a person in stopping smoking.

3)    Create stress management programs to teach smokers a new way to deal with life’s stressors (so they reduce their need to smoke).

Smoking is a one tough habit to break, I have seen clients that smoked for 40 years give it up in two sessions and others that only smoke 10 a day for the past 5 years take 4 or 5 sessions. The reason is tied to why someone started.  If it was to fill a need or mask an emotion or problem then that is a different remedy than if they started because a friend did it.

Hypnosis as a remedy for the smoking habit makes sense on so many levels.  It not only addresses the habitual side, but also psychological reasons someone smokes and even affects the cravings, but implanting the suggestion that the person may not have cravings at all (actually most of my clients report no cravings).  It is also a natural approach so the person achieves a new level of health in the process.

So what can you do in your own environment to stop the lure?  

Talk to your friends and family about how smoking is portrayed in mass media, remind them it is “just the movies” none of it is real.  Practice awareness of one’s emotional state and attempt to express that emotion in an appropriate way. Take meditation or yoga classes for stress management.  And if you ready to give up the cigarettes for good…call your nearest hypnotist, it is the natural way to go and it works with the natural way your brain is wired.

Valerie Grimes
Certified Clinical Hypnotist
Dallas Hypnosis Programs
Dallas TX


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About Valerie Grimes

Besides assisting individuals in behavior change and self improvement, Hypnotist Valerie Grimes specializing in dependencies such as alcohol, food, shopping, pain medication, and smoking. She is also trained in the area of hypnosis for PTSD and Auto Immune Disorders. And is a Reiki Level 2 Master. For More about Valerie, Go To Her Personal Web Page.

She is a 2002 graduate of the Dallas Hypnosis Training Institute, and certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners. Continuing Education is maintained 15 hours per year through Hypnosis Motivational Institute in California.