October is also Stoptober month when smokers are challenged to kick the habit. Hypnotherapist Debra Aspinall has some words of encouragement

Stoptober was created by Public Health England as a 28-day challenge to stop smoking for most of the month of October. It’s based on the belief that after 28 days without a cigarette, smokers are five times more likely to give up smoking for good.

But while Stoptober gives people a target to aim for, a date on a calendar is simply not motivation enough for many people. A smoker has to want to give up, or they won’t.

Quitting cigarettes for good is hard and takes willpower and determination, especially during the first few weeks. But what most people don’t realise is that it isn’t the addiction that has to be overcome, it’s just the habit.

The “addiction” or reliance on nicotine can be broken very quickly – within 48 hours of quitting the toxin has left a person’s body.

But the habit lingers on. Smoking becomes a part of a smoker’s everyday routine. From their first cup of coffee, to meeting friends who also smoke, and going for breaks at work, habits form around it.

That’s why some people who smoke heavily during the weekend can often manage quite well without smoking when they are at work during the week, and vice versa. They probably don’t give a thought to nicotine withdrawal.

So when you want to quit smoking, it is more about breaking your behavioural associations with smoking than weaning yourself off the physical addiction. And this is where hypnotherapy offers success over other methods of quitting. It empowers people to take control of their habit and develop new, healthier patterns of thinking.

During hypnosis a qualified hypnotherapist can address a smoker’s subconscious to change their thought patterns and make suggestions for breaking the habit. The therapist may also teach some helpful techniques to use between sessions to overcome any weak moments.

For some people one session of hypnotherapy is enough to stop smoking altogether, others may benefit from a follow-up session.