Stop smoking article in the Huffington Post

Try this article, on the psychology of telling someone to stop smoking.


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.


More on the value of smoking

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.

Special Offers Page 

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?

E cigarettes study reveals low success rate in stopping smoking or Abstinence makes the heart grow stronger

The new study into  e cigarettes discussed here in the Guardian by Luisa Dillner compares the effect of using e cigarettes to using nicotine patches in stopping smoking.

Both e cigarettes and patches give the smoker a low chance of stopping smoking.

I suggest that because nicotine is a highly addictive drug then putting more of that drug into your body is not the best way to try to ‘kick the habit’.

Abstinence is a concept that is shied away from for obvious reasons. It puts the therapist and the client in a  more confrontational position whereas ‘cutting down’ is a more softly softly approach. Who wants to look the client in the eye and say..this is it…you will never smoke again. Not wanting to upset the client or put them under pressure can be seen as important in order to keep the client within the program..don’t rock the boat.

The alternative to complete abstinence is the drawing out of a painful process where the drug is drip fed into the system creating even more ‘need’ than before as the client is spending longer periods in withdrawal.

It is no surprise that patches and e cigarettes are not very helpful to stop smoking.