Stopping Smoking – Women Take Note!

Staying on the topic of stopping smoking I want to continue the subject by  going back to the article I mentioned in my post ‘Dr Mark Porter Blowing A Smokescreen Over How To Stop Smoking.’ In it he makes the point that women may be more susceptible to the damaging effects of cigarette smoke than men, something I’m not totally disagreeing with, it’s the possible reasons for it that rankle with me. He states,” Quite why women should be more likely to smoke than their male peers, or be more susceptible to smoking related illnesses such as premature heart disease (a 25% higher risk according to the latest study), is unclear. Likely factors range from its use as an appetite suppressant to the marketing tactics used by tobacco companies, which seem to be aiming more at the female smoker with slick packaging and menthol or ‘light’ brands.”  I was fascinated by this and decided to investigate further …..

The article is correct in so much as that women are more susceptible to harm from cigarette smoke than men.  This is backed up by research appearing on most of the respected medical websites around the globe all of whom quote another article this time in ‘The Lancet’ dated 11th August 2011 (the same article Dr Porter used in his article I suspect) entitled ‘Cigarette smoking as a risk factor for coronary heart disease in women compared with men: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies’ by Dr Rachel R Huxley DPHil and Mark Woodward PhD in which their interpretation of the research states ..

“Whether mechanisms underlying the sex difference in risk of coronary heart disease are biological or related to differences in smoking behaviour between men and women is unclear. Tobacco-control programmes should consider women, particularly in those countries where smoking among young women is increasing in prevalence.”

As Dr Porter said in his article, the reasons why women appear more susceptible are unclear, which makes his likely factors just as unclear making his smokescreen even smokier. However I totally agree with him that tobacco advertising needs to be monitored more closely and that tobacco companies should take full responsibility for their actions but I am convinced that if someone wants to smoke they will get their hands on a packet of cigarettes regardless of its shape, size or colour. In fact having talked to friends who smoke they always buy a favourite brand which they stick to and the next governing factor is price. Not a sexy looking packet.

Anyway whatever the reasons for starting smoking these will be stored away in the mind of the smoker – male or female.  It is vital then if we ever want to get people to stop smoking to first approach the mental side of the process and move the smoker to the position where they really WANT to stop smoking.  I repeat the point I made in my previous post, “why won’t more GP’s link up with Clinical Hypnotherapists to offer a more holistic approach to treatment especially in areas such as smoking and weight loss.”  These treatments get to the core of the issues whatever they may be, so come on Dr Porter, women may possibly be more susceptible, but more gullible, I think not – ask my wife!

You can read the full Lancet article mentioned above at

Doctor Mark Porter Blowing a Smokescreen Over How To Stop Smoking

I was reading a recent article in the ‘Times’ regarding women’s health problems called ‘How to stub out the habit’ by Dr Mark Porter, which in itself was informative and helpful to those wanting to quit smoking.  But what got my juices flowing was that the article blew a smokescreen over the real reason why folk smoke or cannot break the habit, which like all other habits and addictions is based around the persons mindset.

Dr Porter mentioned the use of willpower and talked a great deal about the use of drugs as replacement treatments but not once mentioned the real cure i.e  dealing with and changing the reasons why people think they need to smoke!  Talking about the use of varenicline as the most popular treatment amongst his patients he goes on to say, “Trials show a success rate as high as 44 percent at the end of the course, reducing to around 25 percent after the end of a year. (Around half of all smokers relapse within a year of quitting whatever method they use.)  But real-world quit rates tend to be lower than this, and side-effects can be an issue, particularly feeling sick, insomnia and nightmares.” Hmm, those side effects don’t sound too good, probably need more drugs to cure them and the success rates don’t seem to be all that clever either especially in the real-world that he mentions, wherever that is – aren’t his patients in the real-world?

Willpower is only as good for as long as you can keep it going, which in most cases isn’t very long, and it can cause a lot of anxiety which of course gives the smoking habit a hole in your defences through which to climb. Drugs are to my way of thinking the last resort, why substitute one drug for another and fill the drug companies coffers at the same time. They merely mask the symptoms without getting to and healing the root causes of the problem.  How we live is determined by how we think, thought is the start of every action that we take from who we like and dislike, what we like or dislike, whether we are positive or negative, what causes us stress and what gives us peace of mind and whether we choose to smoke or not.  If we choose to do something that we don’t really want to do we have the option to be able to alter the way we think about it. Hypnotherapy is a great way of overwriting old ways of thinking with better and healthier options, quickly and painlessly and without the side affects that both willpower and drugs may produce.

So, nice article Dr Porter and I’m certainly not trying to put you down over this, anyone helping people to stop smoking is good in my book but lets not blow a smokescreen over the real reasons people smoke, the reasons that once dealt with then become the cure – thought!

I am generalising of course but ever since I was nursing I have been struck by how few doctors really are interested in the ‘mind – body’ relationship and pooh pooh things like hypnosis that really can offer permanent behavioural change.  Why won’t more GPs link up with Clinical Hypnotherapists to offer a more holistic approach to treatment especially in areas such as smoking and weight loss.

In the last six years of working with my friend Adam Eason a clinical hypnotherapist and seeing him in action, I have witnessed first hand how he has helped thousands of people with his simple to use audio hypnosis MP3s overcome addictions such as smoking with NO SIDE EFFECTS EXCEPT better health prospects.

Come on Dr Mark Porter – you can offer better advice than at present (what about the NHS Smoke Stop programme as well) and I directly challenge you to check out the help Adam Eason and other Clinical Hypnotherapists could offer your patients.