Hypnosis is widely used and recognized for its ability to help someone to quit smoking. But hypnosis is not just a tool that the stage hypnotist could use for smoking cessation, even though that’s how many people know it. The stage hypnotist will most often use direct suggestions for smoking cessation hypnosis. It will typically be something like “You are a non-smoker,” “Cigarettes taste very bad,” “You enjoy being a non-smoker.” For some people, this works, but for others, it doesn’t.
From personal experience, I have tried to use direct suggestions for smoking cessation, and that didn’t work very well. My cousin is a smoker, and he wasn’t that motivated to quit, but he thought, “If hypnosis can make me quit without an effort, I might as well do it.” Now I must warn anyone who wants to use hypnosis to stop smoking – this is not a very good attitude, and it makes the process harder. I took the approach of direct suggestion and suggested that he should find the worst taste he had ever experienced in his life, multiply it by ten and add that taste to the cigarettes. After the hypnosis, he really couldn’t smoke because they tasted awful. But he still had cravings for the cigarettes, so he tried different brands of cigarettes to find that they all tasted terrible. After just one day, he managed to smoke again, but I have a theory that the particular taste he disliked isn’t disliked anymore. That means he would probably be able to eat the kind of food he used as the worst thing he had ever tasted, but he hasn’t tried to eat that yet, so I don’t know.
The most important job of the hypnotist conducting the session will be to identify the positive aspects of the cigarettes. I don’t think it has ever been pleasant for someone to start smoking, but some positive aspects could ignore the bad taste. Just like many people have experienced with coffee and beer. These aspects must be uncovered and dealt with for the hypnosis to be effective. This means moving away from the direct suggestion approach. Using hypnosis this way can be a very effective tool to quit smoking.