Persuading my son to become a smoker is one of the proudest moments of my life

Sometimes we look back on life with regret, but the day I managed to persuade my son to smoke is a day I will always cherish. A day where I really made a difference in another person’s life.

I have always been immensely proud of my son and watching him grow up has been a source of continual happiness for me. From a very young age he showed great academic ability combined with a charming out-going nature. Despite all his natural flair and ebullience however, I harboured a deep sense of foreboding. How would he get through life without becoming a smoker?

Although my son was bright and cheerful, quick witted  and happy go lucky I knew deep down that there was something missing, something he would need to become, something he would need to become to be a fully grown adult. He needed one day to start smoking.

With a growing sense of horror he failed to start smoking at 12 or even 13. Subtle questioning and hints after school revealed his total unawareness of smoking, the poor thing hadn’t even tried one!  As time went by I became more convinced that the responsibility lay with me, that one day I would need to have that ‘little chat’ that would mean so much. That it would fall to me to bring him into adulthood, to teach him about smoking.

At the age of 15 my son had still not smoked. He was doing very well at school but his healthy cheery disposition sent shudders through me as it became more and more obvious that he was attempting to become an adult without the use of smoking. Little did he know of the pressures of adult life and the way smoking would enhance nearly every aspect of his working and private life. The idea that my son was attempting to face life as a non smoker filled me with sadness and almost despair.

So on that fateful day I sat my son down and began that discussion that I had rehearsed so many times in my head. I carefully outlined the dangers of life without smoking. How smoking would help him relax, enjoy food and drink, concentrate, give him time to think, increase his creativity, give him a sense of himself as an independent person dealing with life’s issues. I proceeded carefully as not to alarm him, so as not to hint that if he carried on as he was, he was heading for second best, even disaster. As James Joyce put it , “to be an outcast from life’s feast”.

At first my son put up a struggle due to the cultural brainwashing received in his early years from school and from so called ‘genetic disposition’. He tried to argue that he already had all the things that smoking could give him, that he was naturally happy and comfortable without smoking. I held back from giving a knowing smile, the innocence of youth! But I patiently rebutted him and, though holding back great emotion insisted. But you could be so much more if you smoked!

I left my son to think it over leaving him a packet on the arm of the sofa.

The early signs were not good. My son would report that he had tried one but found it pretty disgusting. But I persevered and encouraged him. Most days as he came in from school I would ask in an off-hand way if he had smoked today. It was those days of gentle but firm enquiry and persistence which I am most proud of.  And fairly soon came my prize.

I remember that day so clearly. He walked into the kitchen, it was a Friday evening in October and said with a beaming smile, “Dad, I really want to smoke now”. Words could not describe my feelings of pride at that moment. He continued ” I found it difficult to smoke at first but now I really need one. In fact I need one more than ever now.” He beamed. My wife burst into tears.

Smokers get a lot of criticism for not doing enough in the community. When did you last hear of a smoker give an inspiring “start smoking” talk at a school or college. Sometimes the real work is done at home with people you love, quietly and carefully.

The fact that I had acted on my principles, made an effort and actually made a difference in an another person’s life will always give me a deep sense of satisfaction.

And to cap it all, I did all this for my own son.

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More on the value of smoking

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Special Deal for Stop Smoking sessions in Stoptober 2013

The NHS is running a big campaign called Stoptober which provides support throughout October for people trying to quit.

If you need a little extra one to one help and support how about coming in for a session in Harley St?  I am offering a 15% reduction in the price of the session throughout October, which comes with 3 months backup giving you unlimited sessions in the first 3 months…if you need them. Only one in five clients need more than one session.

Remember that millions of people have quit smoking and have never looked back.

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Five Top Tips On How To Stop Smoking

Tip #1

Look forward to the first few days of discomfort. See those days as the cleansing process similar to getting hot and sweaty in the gym.

Tip #2

Make sure you know that smoking has no value to you in your life. All smoking does is to set up the next cigarette. It does not give you anything, it does not help, it is a self serving addiction.

Tip #3

Don’t count the days that you have stopped. You are never going to smoke again so what are you counting for? Even though each day you are reclaiming your health there is no point in keeping a score. Counting the days that you have stopped is a sneaky way of missing smoking. It is over so stop counting.

Tip #4

Total and complete abstinence is the only way. Decide that you are never going to smoke again. Do not tease yourself that ‘just one’ is possible or an option even after a year. You are now an ex-smoker and you do not smoke.

Tip #5

Do not focus on the health benefits of stopping smoking because in your head you giving smoking a false equivalence. That is to say your brain is saying the health benefits outweigh ….well…outweigh what…the benefits of smoking?

Stopping Smoking Reduces Anxiety says new research

New research out today shows that stopping smoking actually reduces anxiety, which is the very opposite that smokers fear when they think of quitting.

This research lend more weight to the concept that nicotine addiction messes with your mind and that the addiction keeps you in a state of fear about stopping. One of the central fears about stopping smoking is the effect on anxiety levels and the ability to relax without a cigarette.

My previous post criticised the new ad campaign for setting up a false choice between your health and smoking. This new evidence released today adds weight to a  possible campaign that does not involve health and would do away with scare tactics. The simple fact is that when people stop smoking, all the worries about what might  be lost as a non smoker fade like smoke rings! 

Quit Smoking Help In London

Why the new Stop Smoking Ad Campaign is flawed…again.

The UK government has just spent 2.7 million quid on an ad campaign to dissuade people from smoking. Sound like a good idea? Well, nearly.

If they had asked me…and they didn’t… I would have tried to prevent them from using the tired old scare tactic that smoking causes cancer.

It seems like a good idea to tell people that smoking gives you cancer and you dont want cancer so….stop smoking. The trouble with this approach is that it doesnt get to the real appeal of smoking: the fact that smokers believe that smoking helps them in their lives.

Every time a smoker reaches for a cigarette they are making the trade off between the chance of getting cancer on one hand and getting relief on the other hand. The new stop smoking ad campaign only plays into that argument. The reason that people continue to smoke despite the risks of cancer is that they think that its worth the risk. Smokers are very aware of those risks and spending another 2.7 million on ramming that message home doesn’t help things much.

We all  make trade offs about the risks and benefits to our actions. Would you risk cancer if you could get a life long addition to your life which helped you feel good, helped you relax or helped you with confidence and time for yourself? Well I wouldn’t blame you if you said yes! This is the false trade-off that is reinforced by the efforts to hi-light the dangers of smoking.

OK clever clogs, so what’s your suggestion?

Focus the campaign on the fact that smoking is a nothing. Smoking gives you nothing, it does not help you in any way whatsoever. All the so called benefits to smoking are an illusion. It takes guts to tackle the issue of ‘what does smoking do for you’ which is why the government has shied away from it and just gone for the scare tactic.

Create a campaign around the pointlessness of smoking, the empty lie that smoking creates relaxation or confidence or ‘goes with a pint’. Tackle each false promise that smoking tries to make and demolish the arguments one by one.

Stop smoking sessions in Harley St

Stop smoking page on my website

Do not reward yourself for stopping smoking!

Do not reward yourself for stopping smoking!

I just read a stop smoking blog that said you should give yourself a gift for continuing not to smoke.

This is a trap set by the nicotine monster! Beware the manipulative nature of addiction!

What the reward is doing is fooling you into thinking that you are losing something from being an ex-smoker and you need to compensate for this loss by giving yourself a present.

Stopping smoking gets you back to normal, you are not missing out on anything and do not need to reward yourself for not smoking. It plays into the hands of that sneaky addictive voice that says that your are being ‘good’ for not smoking and that one day soon you will be back ‘enjoying’ all the great things about smoking that your reward system tried to hide.

Stopping smoking is its own reward. Getting back to normal is enough for you. Do not reward yourself for quitting smoking.

By the way. If you want to buy yourself a present, be my guest. You probably deserve a little pampering just for good measure

Hypnotherapy in Harley St London

Finding Help blog

Getting the best help to Stop Smoking in London

The new year is the most popular time for thinking about stopping smoking according to Google trends.

So hey presto my new blog appears!

I love doing stop smoking sessions. Why? Because the sessions are usually tough but very satisfying as the client makes the journey from smoker to ex-smoker.

CBT ideas and story telling and hypnotherapy techniques combine to create a compelling mindset to feel that you can stop smoker and put your smoking days behind you.

Find out more about me at my website

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