The information below comes from the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis.

A good place to start is at the beginning, and in this situation this relates to the very first cigarette that you smoked.   Think back to that first cigarette, how it all happened.  Was it peer pressure or that teenage rush to become and be seen as an adult?


 Within 20 minutes your heart and blood pressure return to normal.

 Carbon monoxide levels decrease within the first 8 hours.

 Within 24 hours there is a massive decrease in the chance of heart attack.

 Within 48 hours all nicotine will be out of your system.

 With 72 hours your bronchial tubes begin to repair.

 Two to three months of not smoking will result in 30% increase in lung capacity.

 In first 9 months coughing will be greatly reduced and you’ll become far less short of breath.

 Within 10 years any pre-cancerous cells will have returned to normal.

The beginnings of addiction

Tobacco companies are well aware of the addictive nature of tobacco and thus historically target their advertising accordingly to young people, promoting cigarettes to be socially acceptable as an indication of sophistication and maturity.

Whilst such advertising is curbed today it used to be heroic figures who were portrayed enjoying and pleasure of riches and fame, striding through every situation with that air of confidence and success that attracts the beautiful woman or the handsome man.  In our teenage years, in our naivety and gullibility, we were easily taken in to believe this was the reality of smoking.  In our teenage years we are strong minded and the suggestion that we may become dependent on cigarettes seems ridiculous but even today more and more teenagers fall straight into the trap set by the tobacco industry and spend years of the adult life turning their money to ash.

Drag and Cough

Can you honestly say that that first drag on a cigarette was a pleasant experience?  As the harsh cigarette smoke is taken into the lungs, the effects are predictable.  Dizziness, nausea, coughing and spluttering all accompanied by a foul taste are the symptoms.   However, determined to be one of the gang you strived to endure what is perceived as some sort of initiation into approaching adulthood or being one of the gang.

The survival instinct

The reaction of dizziness, nausea etc, to the cigarette smoke is one that is generated by the subconscious mind as it strives to carry out its prime function, that of ‘survival’.  It is in effect sending a clear message as it deploys its defences against the poison that has been introduced into the body. ‘Stop now. You are poisoning yourself’, it shouts as it promotes the vomit and cough response in its efforts to expel the substance which it recognises as dangerous.

Dizziness and disorientation are experienced as the brain is suddenly deprived of its oxygen supply.  The delicate taste buds in the mouth react violently in protest at the foul mixture which leaves that unpleasant taste which lingers long after the event.  The heart beat quickens adding to the anxiety that is part of that warning system that alerts us to imminent danger.

The human body is a wonderful miracle of engineering.  Each and every part of its function is controlled and regulated by the subconscious without any conscious consideration at all.  Our heart pumps oxygenated blood around our body.  The liver, kidneys, the brain, every cell, each molecule is monitored and regulated precisely and without pause.  The chemical balance of the organism is precise and specific and it is part of the function of the subconscious to ensure that the correct chemical constitution is maintained.  When that first cigarette smoke is introduced the chemical balance is placed in jeopardy, and so those defence mechanisms are activated to protect the integrity of that delicate balance, but the person is so determined to be accepted by their peers that he continues the assault on their own defences so that the subconscious programming becomes corrupted and begins to accept the new chemicals being introduced as necessary for its survival.

Now is order to ensure that this newly accustomed nicotine level is maintained, the subconscious sends out a signal, a demand for new supplies when the level drops, in the same way as it sends out a signal that we recognise when we experience hunger or thirst or feel too hot or too cold.  These signals are designed to prompt us to eat or to drink, take appropriate action to get warm or to cool down.  By their very nature they create discomfort which motivates us to take action to remedy that unpleasant sensation.  The more nicotine the system becomes accustomed to, the more demands will be signalled.  This is what we recognise as nicotine craving and addiction.

The subconscious has become fooled into a belief that it must ensure that the nicotine supply is maintained and a new ‘part’ of a person’s survival programming is created, its sole purpose to do everything necessary to ensure that supply.  Thus keeping you smoking; maintaining an addiction to nicotine.

Chemical content

There are over two thousand chemical compounds in tobacco smoke.  Around thirty of those chemicals are known carcinogens and many are lethal poisons.  We are all aware of the most common chemicals, nicotine and tar, but what of the others?

Arsenic is present in tobacco smoke, as is also cyanide, ammonia, benzo-pyrene, carbon monoxide and prussic acid.  Added to this are the insecticides and chemical fertilisers sprayed on the tobacco crops.  All these chemicals and many more are present in cigarettes and other tobacco products and now are absorbed into and pollute the tissues of your body.

Arsenic and cyanide!  Both of these substances are instantly recognisable as extremely poisonous to humans.  Are you aware that nicotine is one of the most poisonous substances known to man?  Why, if you were to extract the nicotine from one cigarette and, with a hypodermic, inject it directly into a vein, you would be dead in seconds!  There is enough in that one cigarette to kill a horse!

It helps me to relax’

Nicotine is a recognised vaso-constrictor, i.e. it causes the arteries to contract.  The heart has to work harder to pump the blood around the body.  If someone smokes twenty cigarettes a day, then his heart will beat an extra ten thousand beats in that twenty four hours.

The effects of smoking are devastating for your heart.  Nicotine causes raised blood pressure and an increased risk of blood clots.  Carbon monoxide reduces the blood’s ability to absorb vital oxygen and is directly responsible for the development of cholesterol deposits on artery walls.  The effect overall is an increased risk of heart attach and stroke.

Most smokers claim that a cigarette helps them to relax.  If the heart is working so much harder because of the effects of nicotine, that claim becomes difficult to sustain, but what is worse is that, when cigarette smoke is introduced into the body, the organism reacts to being poisoned in the same way as it would if subjected to a horrifying experience.  The automatic defence system becomes activated, and the whole body goes into what is known as ‘fight or flight mode’.

This automatic response to danger is present in all creatures.  It ensures that we are instantly prepared to use maximum strength and effort to either run from perceived danger or to stop and fight.  Our heart beats faster, and respiration increases to pump richly oxygenated blood to the major muscles and to the brain.  Adrenaline and noradrenaline course through our system and lactic acid is produced to maximise muscle power.  The brain needs additional oxygen to heighten its ability to rationalise the situation and to react in the manner which best serves the need to survive the crisis.  This process is highly visible in animals.  The dog’s hackles rise, and in humans the hairs on the back of the neck will stand up.  The whole body is in a high state of readiness for explosive maximum effort, and probably you have heard stories of how seemingly normal men and women are able to perform prodigious feats of strength and endurance in situations of great danger.  At the same time as this process of ensuring that the body’s defence system is maximised to produce this seemingly superhuman strength, resources are diverted away from other areas that are less important.  Systems which are not required are shut down to allow power to be available where it is most required.

The digestive system is hardly necessary when you are preparing to do battle or run from danger within the next few seconds, so it shuts down, and the ability to digest food and absorb the nutrients from it are dispensed with.  Similarly blood supply to the extremities is reduced, and the immune system which will not be required to fight disease at this time, also shuts down.  What was that about, ‘it helps me to relax’?

When all around is chaos and unpredictable, we humans seek constancy changing outside of our control and influence, ‘a cigarette stays the same’.  A cigarette is constant, it is predictable, it does provide at some level a sense of constancy and in this way can become a very potent influence, and therein lies the power of the habit.

There is an explanation

An element which is part of our survival instinct is the need to be comfortable.  We do not like to feel cold, wet or hungry.  The craving that is experienced as the subconscious delivers its message demanding that the nicotine levels be replenished is in no way something that can be described as pleasant.  It is uncomfortable, and when we experience discomfort it does not improve our state of mind.  Restlessness, anxiety and irritability are some of the emotional responses that are equated with discomfort.  A cigarette satisfies the craving and so diminishes the discomfort, and therein is created the illusion that cigarettes promote a feeling of relaxation.

In normal circumstances, when the period of danger is over, the battle won or our escape made, the subconscious will relax its state of awareness and normal service will resume.  This is the direct opposite of the ‘fight or flight’ response and is known as the ‘relaxation’ response.  Now the heart beat returns to its normal level, as does respiration and those functions which were temporarily shut down are brought back on line, and everything is fine again.

If you continuously smoke the body is under constant assault, and the perception of danger is constant and unrelenting.  The ‘fight or flight’ state that we have identified is still at a heightened state of readiness with all of those power diversions in operation, heart rate increased, respiration increased, adrenaline, noradrenaline and lactic acid production at full flow, digestive and immune systems suppressed.  But, if we continue to smoke, the enzymes produced are not used in their intended fashion but remain in the tissues as toxins.

Now we have a problem.

If a smoker cannot digest their food and absorb the nutrients from it efficiently because the digestive system has been suppressed, it is small wonder that smokers are so susceptible to health problems and suffer particularly from so many digestive upsets ranging from constipation to ulcers and cancers.

We need our immune system

We need it to fight with all its vigour to ensure that we have the maximum protection from the assaults on our health from so many quarters.  Its function of seeking out and destroying invading organisms keeps us well protected from so many diseases that can kill and destroy our quality of life.  It is at work constantly repairing the ravages of just being alive.

Cancer is the bogeyman of smoking

The main strategy of many smokers to diminish the possible threat to their health is dissociating themselves from it.  ‘Cancer will not happen to me.  It happens to other people.’  Even though we know that that is completely divorced from the truth, this perception serves to ensure that the smoking habit continues, as the ‘smoker’ part of the subconscious feeds this and other complete fallacies to the conscious mind to ensure the continued ‘beneficial’ supply of nicotine.

Cancer is a condition which is latent in everyone.  It does not manifest itself in all of us, and indeed the majority live through life without this problem.  It begins when the cell reproduction function which is controlled by the subconscious becomes corrupted and runs out of control.  It is the immune system which protects us from this dreaded condition.  A smoker’s immune system is suppressed because of the permanent invocation of the fight or flight response, and this must surely be a major factor as to why smokers are much more susceptible to cancers than non-smokers.  The belief that smoking is responsible just for cancer of the lungs has to be discounted.  True, lung cancer is sadly prevalent in smokers, but then this is the main avenue for the assault on the body perpetrated through smoking.

Smokers are at risk from cancer of the mouth, the tongue, the larynx, the kidneys, the liver, the prostate, the bladder, the testicles, the cervix, the womb and ovaries, the stomach and the colon, skin cancer, cancer of the oesophagus and cancer of the pancreas.  In fact the incidence of any form of cancer that you can think of will be greatly increased.

The lungs

When you smoke, you inhale, drawing the gases produced by the burning tobacco into our lungs, gases full of chemicals and poisons.  The airways that conduct the inhaled air into the lungs are covered with fine hair-like projections called cilia.  It is the function of the cilia to provide a defence against the ingress into the lungs of particles of dust and foreign matter.

An offending object will brush against the cilia, which are then activated to propel the foreign matter upwards again towards the mouth.  The lungs and airways go into spasm as the delicate tissues of the linings are irritated and force air out in a violent explosion that is a cough.  This reaction is designed to expel the foreign matter and prevent its passage down into the delicate inner chambers of the lungs where the vital interchange of gases is implemented.  Oxygen is absorbed into the blood and carbon dioxide extracted and then expelled with exhalation.

Thick sticky tar in the cigarette smoke coats the tiny cilia causing them to become brittle, to lie flat against the walls of the airways or to break off.  They are thus unable to carry out their function so that the foreign particles are able to pass into the lungs where they accumulate.  There is no way out.  You may have seen pictures of the lungs that have been removed from the corpses of smokers showing the accumulation of soot and debris from years of smoking.  Not a pretty sight.

As the debris accumulates the capacity of lungs is reduced, and with that the ability to oxygenate the blood is also diminished.  The mucus lining of the lungs that facilitates the chemical interaction necessary for the absorption of oxygen and the extraction of carbon dioxide becomes corrupted and its chemical composition changed.  Its function impaired, the lungs produce more mucus in an attempt to correct the situation and so the lungs fill up with fluid.  Here are the beginnings of chest diseases, the breathlessness and the horror of emphysema.  As the lining of the bronchi are inflamed so begins the dreaded smoker’s cough and because the bronchi are weakened so the smoker becomes more susceptible to recurring bronchial infections.  Smokers are ten times more likely to contract lung cancer and emphysema than non-smokers.  The necessity of a good oxygen supply now requires the lungs with their reduced capacity to work harder to draw in enough air.  This is the explanation for the gasping wheeze that is associated with long-term smoking.  The ability to engage in any physical activity is adversely affected as the lungs begin to lose their ability to oxygenate the blood sufficiently to fuel the muscles for the extra activity.  The smoker takes the lift or the escalator rather than use the stairs.  That ‘smoker’ part of the subconscious will ensure that we get the message not to use the stairs.

The kidneys and liver

The kidneys and the liver have the function of filtering out the waste matter in the body and excreting them.   Due to the massive increase in poisons and toxins introduced through tobacco smoke, these organs need to work at greatly increased rate in their attempt to clean the blood of the huge amounts of impurities.  The carcinogenic materials that are present in cigarettes pass of course through both these organs, increasing the likelihood that cancer will strike here.  Kidney and liver failure is an increased risk that comes with smoke.

Sexual concern

Smoking attacks the very building blocks of life, the DNA.  It attacks the eggs in the ovaries and it destroys sperm, reducing the count to levels where the chance of fathering healthy children is reduced and the danger of damage to the foetus is increased.

Sexual potency of smokers decreases more rapidly with age than that of non-smokers, and similarly the incidence of impotence is also more prevalent.  Smoking increases the ageing process, and a fifty years old smoker is as old physically as a seventy years old non-smoker.  Women who smoke during pregnancy are poisoning and depriving their baby of oxygen whilst it is growing in the womb.  The growing life inside the mother is reliant on a supply of nutrient-rich, well oxygenated blood in order to grow to be healthy.  Babies born to women who smoke are generally smaller and are more susceptible to respiratory infections.  Their development is slower and they do no do as well at school as children who are born to non-smoking parents.

For a woman to carry a child through pregnancy with full knowledge that her smoking habit is damaging her baby, that she is depriving that child of oxygen and feeding it lethal poisons, has to place her in a position whereby she could be judged guilty of prenatal child abuse.

The incidence of placenta separation is much high in mothers who smoke, and the figures for miscarriage tell their own sad story, and a child born to a smoker is born addicted to nicotine and will be less content that a child who has been spared that fate.  High blood pressure is a well known risk that women face while carrying a child so, as smoking raises blood pressure, it is not a positive start to a pregnancy if the mother smokes.

With our bodies we enjoy the good things that life has to offer, and sexual relations play a huge part in the interaction between us.  It is one of the joys of life, and the importance cannot be under-estimated.  To be a good lover it is necessary that we are the best and healthiest that we can be but how can we give of our best in that way unless we ensure that we look after our health, giving ourselves the best chance of remaining fit and virile.  Smoking hardly achieves that!

A non-smoker is aware of some things that a smoker is not aware of.  One of these is his ability to detect the smell of stale tobacco the instant a smoker comes into olfactory range.  That smell permeates everything, hair clothing, furnishings and a smoker’s breath can be very unpleasant.  Smokers are not welcome in many places now.  Theatres, restaurants, buses, trains and planes all seek to ban smokers from their facilities.  A smoker inhales just fifteen percent of the smoke from his cigarette, while the rest goes into the atmosphere so that others are subjected to passive smoking, without choice and may even find their clothes and hair also tainted with the smell.

Research in the USA during 1995 revealed that one carcinogen that exists only in

tobacco smoke can be detected in the urine of non-smokers after exposure of just 90 minutes to conditions which are typical of a smoke filled room.  In 1988, four hundred and thirty four thousand early deaths were attributed to the effects of smoking.  Thirty thousand of these deaths were passive smoking related.  If you are a parent and you smoke, then your children are ‘passive smokers’.  They will suffer an increased risk of asthma and other respiratory conditions.  British medical research shows that, in a study of male doctors who smoked between 1951 and 1994, the death rate in middle age was three times higher than those who never smoked.  Approximately fifty percent of smokers die from causes which relate directly to their smoking.  Each time a smoker lights up a cigarette, that part of his subconscious mind that still tries to warn him about the dangers is overpowered by the part that wants to keep him smoking.  There is usually a pang of guilt present but unfortunately ignored.  At least now filters are fitted to most brands in an attempt to filter out some of the poisons so some smokers will live just a little longer.  However, statistically each cigarette reduces life expectancy by six minutes.

It seems incredible that, faced with all these facts, you continue to smoke.  These facts will be accepted at a conscious level, but we need to effect changes at the subconscious level for you to view the situation differently.  The subconscious smoker is determined not to alter what it considers to be necessary for survival.  In some cases, of course, with sheer effort of will, a smoker will give up, both others take




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I love this photo.  Some time it’s the child that gets it right.

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