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The ingredients of cigarette smoke are usually divided into three rough categories as follows:
Nicotine is the “addictive” ingredient in cigarettes…and it is an insecticide! In the tobacco plant its natural function is to repel pests.
In the human body nicotine behaves as a powerful neurotoxin, artificially stimulating the nervous system. It begins within ten seconds of inhalation, but its acute effects disappear within a few minutes – a short high followed by a longer low. The paradoxical and self-defeating desire to continually compensate for the chronic effects of nicotine by the short-term fix that comes from smoking more cigarettes constitutes the addiction cycle.
The long term physical and psychological effects of nicotine are very similar to the effects of chronic stress. That’s why cigarettes do not “calm your nerves”. Smokers assume that cigarettes help them to relax, but the nicotine creates stress in the first place.
Nicotine is a deadly toxin. Two drops of pure nicotine on the tongue would be more than enough to kill a full-grown man.
We have heard of people dying of carbon monoxide poisoning due to car exhaust fumes or faulty gas heaters. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless and tasteless toxic gas. It is created when any organic substance, including tobacco and paper, is burned. In the body, CO attaches itself to red blood cells taking the place of oxygen, thereby causing asphyxiation in smokers. CO partially starves the body of oxygen, causing shortness of breath, and reducing energy.
Because the body requires oxygen to produce white blood cells, CO impairs the immune system, meaning that smokers generally get ill more easily and take longer to recover than non-smokers.
Sticky, stale smelling, yellow-brown tar is created when tobacco smoke condenses – it can sometimes be seen staining a smoker’s fingers. It actually consists over 5000 chemicals, 600 of which are believed to be poisonous and 42 cancer-causing. The tar content in cigarettes is a bigger health risk than either the nicotine or the carbon monoxide.
Some of the toxic chemicals may be surprising: arsenic, cyanide, formaldehyde (used to preserve organs), ammonia (used as a disinfectant), cadmium (the poisonous metal used in batteries), acetone (nail polish remover), benzene (a carcinogenic, industrial solvent used in pesticides) and even DDT (the notoriously dangerous insecticide).
“I was a smoker for all my life, but my health is not good, I’m in a wheelchair, and my physical therapist told me that there was a good hypnotherapist in the clinic who could help me stop smoking. Deborah told me to wait because I had just lost a good friend, but we did the session in one day in the fall and I really wanted to stop. I have not smoked since that day.”
If you were offered a beverage containing all this, would you drink it? Would you drink twenty cans of it a day? Would you rub it into the skin of your face every day?
Yet, the average smoker consumes half a liter of tar every year. It condenses on the surface of lung tissue and physically clogs up the lungs, preventing them from cleaning themselves and seriously impairing breathing.
I generally conduct smoking cessation in a single customised two-hour session. There are many approaches to stop smoking, and we will apply a whole toolkit of methods to ensure best chances of success.
Treatment includes visual imagery work, cue-controlled relaxation technique, training in targeting key trigger situations, rehearsal of coping skills, training in relapse prevention and of course, hypnosis.
The package includes one booster session within six weeks of the treatment, a support CD and support calls.