South Africans love to smoke cigarettes!
We all know smoking kills, yet we continue to smoke. A person who starts smoking in their late teens has a 50% chance of dying of smoking related disease by the age of 60. Smoking is the second most important risk factor worldwide for deaths, second only to hypertension. Smoking causes tuberculosis, lung cancer, stroke, throat and mouth cancer, as well as various lung and heart diseases.
South Africa has in the region of 8 million smokers (16.4% of population). This has come down dramatically from the 32% of South Africans who were smokers in 1993. (South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey : Sanhanes -1) This can largely be attributed to stricter smoking legislation, advertising limitations and higher tobacco prices.
"We all have to die of something", is the usual motto heard uttered by smokers. And so smoking tobacco causes one in four deaths in middle-aged men and one in six of all deaths in middle aged-women in the coloured community, twice as high as for white South Africans.. Dr Debbie Bradshaw of the Medical Research Council and a member of CDIA, one of the leading participants in this mortality study says, "We have known about the link between smoking and mortality for many decades, but did not know the magnitude of the problem."
According to Professor Krisela Steyn, Associate Director of the Chronic Disease Initiative for Africa (CDIA), South Africa still has far too many smokers. Of course smokers also expose family members to second-hand smoke, which also carries a health risk.
The best advice is never to start smoking. The Youth Risk Behaviour Survey found that 21% of Grade 8-11 learners smoke, with no change occurring between 2002 and 2008 – showing a resistance to warnings about smoking. This might be because young people may think they are immune to risk. It is becoming more and more important to stop young people from taking up smoking in the first place, as nicotine is a highly addictive drug.
For those who want to stop smoking, there are a few options available to help them get free from cigarettes. Medication and stop smoking programs are usually the first steps people take to ridding themselves of the smoking habit, but the majority seem to fail and then opt for more desperate measures like acupuncture.
The reason most of these initiatives fail, is because smoking is habit forming. While one has to take the chemical factors of nicotine and other chemicals that are present in cigarettes into consideration, the biggest hurdle a smoker has to overcome is the habit problem. Few of the above mentioned interventions focus on this area, which means the failure rate of people who want to stop smoking is quite high.
Hypnosis has become an increasingly popular method for smokers to change their habits. Hypnosis is the most effective way of giving up smoking, according to the largest ever scientific comparison of ways of breaking the habit. A meta-analysis, statistically combining results of more than 600 studies of 72,000 people from America and Europe to compare various methods of quitting. On average, hypnosis was over three times as effective as nicotine replacement methods and 15 times as effective as trying to quit alone. (University of Iowa, Journal of Applied Psychology, How One in Five Give Up Smoking. October 1992.)
So if you are ready to stop smoking, if you have tried everything else and failed, if you have made a final decision to stop smoking, you may want to give hypnosis the benefit of the doubt. It may take between one and three sessions to permanently give up the smoking habit and replace it with healthy habits that will improve your health and increase your life span.
For more information on how to do it, visit www.hypnosis-works.co.za