What's The Best Way To Quit Smoking?

Once you've set your mind on quitting smoking, you have an important decision to make; just how do you plan on going about it? There are plenty of recognized methods out there (along with lots more unconventional ones!) and statistics are a very long way from declaring a clear winner.

To the contrary, an overview of meta-analysis of the methods most commonly employed by wannabe quitters makes depressing reading, with nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gum scoring from 3 to 17%, and prescription medications averaging just 18%.

Chantix, the drug that not so long ago was being hailed as an industry game-changer, is currently the subject of multiple lawsuits as a result of alleged side effects that include suicidal and delusional thoughts as well as cardiac issues. Personally, I've witnessed a guy become so deeply paranoid that he threatened his family whilst taking this drug, and even though he eventually quit smoking okay, I feel that the means can't always justify the end!

Therapies generally score better, with acupuncture, group counselling sessions, hypnotherapy and workplace meetings all scoring between 25 and 36%. I incline strongly to the opinion that these significantly higher success rates reflect a greater realism amongst the participants - these people have correctly figured out they need psychological support to break their habit, rather than medicine.

Of all the data available, the only studies showing reliably measured success rates above 40% involve patients with heart disease. I guess the subjects were especially highly motivated, seeing as the consequences of failing to quit would, in so many cases, have proven particularly unfortunate?

This raises two extremely important points, namely the significance of statistics and motivation. The highest recorded success rate found by any empirically validated study into smoking cessation is 42%, and yet it's far from difficult to find businesses out there claiming much higher rates, such as 95%!

Well, just try asking these guys which organization independently verified their results? Because any statistics that haven't been confirmed by a follow-up breath test after 12 or 26 weeks simply shouldn't count, and it's pure mischief to presume that every client who doesn't bother to come back and complain was a success story!

Remember that all any therapy can ever do is help you to quit smoking, and so it's hardly an auspicious start if the provider begins by lying to you about his track record!

Having said that, one easy way for any therapist to attain a genuinely high success rate would be to refuse treatment to all but those who are obviously highly motivated to quit - because when it comes to giving up smoking, motivation really is everything.

Anyone who's reached a decision, at the deepest level, that they simply don't want to smoke any more, is going to succeed in quitting, whichever method they happen to employ. And if they choose to work with a therapist, then all he or she needs to do is guide them along the road to success.

Of course, we can hopefully speed up that journey, by helping them avoid some of the bumps along the road - presuming we're any good at our jobs!

Paul R Mather is a certified hypnotherapist and the owner of Cerulean Therapies, a company specializing primarily in helping people to quit smoking. For more information, please visit http://www.quitclever.co.uk
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