I've known a secret for over thirty years and now it's time to share
it with you. You are not a nicotine junky. There, I said it!
After I've let the cat out of the bag, you are probably
wondering, what the heck is he taking about? I'm addicted to nicotine. I
crave nicotine. I have a nicotine fit when I can't have my cigarette.
My brain needs nicotine, my body craves nicotine and I
can't talk on the phone without my cigarette. What could be more
obvious, I'm a nicotine addict!
I'm Paul S. Palmer, director of the Palmer Smoking Clinic, I'm
an expert in hypnosis specializing in smoking cessation. (see
Palmer's Bio) The most
challenging part of my job over these past 30 years has been to convince
my clients that their smoking addiction
was really a habit problem and not a chemical problem. As bizarre as
that notion may sound at the moment, I challenge you to hear a few of
my examples before you declare me a nut case. I promise, you'll be surprised and
If cigarette smokers are slaves to nicotine, explain the following?
Smokers are able to turn off their addiction to get a good
Smokers have stopped smoking completely at work.
Illinois smokers no longer smoke at bars and restaurants.
Cigarette smokers don't graduate to cigars, pipes or chewing
You don't smoke in the new car or in the new house.
You don't smoke in hospitals, public buildings, theaters,
airline flights, etc., and you don't even think about it any
For 20 years medical experts have said the nicotine part of
smoking is over in 72 hours.
How do you explain the cigarette smokers unusual ability to pick and
choose where they are addicted? The smoker's world is getting smaller
everyday and nicotine addicts seem able to adjust to this without
much discomfort. Does any other chemical addiction work
like that? Because the boss sent a memo, you cancelled your addiction to
nicotine at work! How is that possible?
If this is a chemical addiction, explain the phone call.
The smoker needs nicotine. You have a
craving because you are trying to maintain a level of nicotine in
your body. Well, how can that be true if you just finished a cigarette,
satisfied your need for nicotine, and the phone rings. Tell me you can
talk on the phone without a cigarette. Chemical need or habit? Smoking
situations apparently cause you to reach for the cigarette far more
often than any lack of nicotine in the body.
Real chemical addictions grow.
need more and more of the chemical to feed an addiction, sound right?
Well, cigarette smokers have been pretty fickle about their relationship
with nicotine all these years. Over the past 60 years, smokers have
evolved from smoking short non-filtered (heavy on the nicotine)
cigarettes to filtered cigarettes, then to highly filtered, to low tar
and nicotine brands. Lights and ultra-lights are the cigarette of the
day! What kind of a chemical addict goes in that direction? Think about it, smokers are doing it
backwards! You should start out with ultra-lights, then to lights and gradually work
your way up to the real cigarettes, like the old movie stars used to
smoke, no filter and a big blast of nicotine.
And when those unfiltered cigarettes don't do it for you anymore, you move up the tobacco chain to cigars, pipes and chewing
tobacco. The smoker could always get a bigger nicotine fix when ever
it. Have many cigarette smokers gone that route? Hardly any, I would say.
Need Nicotine? Got you covered.
There has always been help for your chemical addiction. You need
nicotine? You've had a pill, the gum, the patch, or an inhaler.
If your brain is addicted to nicotine there are drugs to block the
pleasure centers that are tickled by nicotine (opiate blockers) and of
course anti-depressants to make you feel happy when you quit. You could
slowly wean yourself off your chemical addiction with the taper down
technique — recommended by every
stop-smoking expert for over 20 years — now
since abandoned. There is vitamin and herb therapy, non-tobacco cigarettes,
electric cigarettes and laser
If it's not a chemical addiction, what is it?
It's a habit problem. It's a
BIG HABIT PROBLEM. I'm talking about
a multi-layered habit with layers you should easily recognize. First,
you have the thousands of connections you developed over the years
between the cigarette and the things you smoke it with. Talking on the
phone, finishing a meal, your cup of Joe, and
all your smoking haunts represent your smoking pattern. Next, add the
number of trips back and forth to the mouth per day, which falls into a
range of 200 to 600 repetitions. You also have mannerisms that are part of the
package, how you hold your cigarette, how often you flick your ash and
even how you extinguish your butt. All of these represent the largest
habit pattern you'll ever acquire.
I'm not saying smokers haven't noticed their smoking patterns, I'm
telling you that we've missed the boat completely on the significance of this
pattern when you try to quit and that this pattern is the primary cause
of your discomfort. How could everybody have missed the
elephant in the
room? For fifty years, we were told that smoking was
a chemical addiction problem. Yet, for half that time the experts knew
nicotine was out of your system in 48 to 72 hours. Every stop-smoking
program or product is useful only if smoking is really a huge chemical
addiction, which it is not. If smoking were officially declared a
Behavior Problem tomorrow, who would be left in business? Yes, the
Palmer Smoking Clinic would stand alone.
All the mysteries of quitting are solved.
The fact that smoking is a habit problem explains everything. Once
you look at smoking as a behavioral problem all mysteries, questions and
conundrums are cleared up. Any instance where you didn't act like a
chemical addict is now explainable. Smokers can obviously adjust their
habit pattern to accommodate the shrinking smoking environment but you can't turn a
true chemical addiction on and off to suit your situation. The habit
also explains why smokers fall off the wagon so quickly (some, with one
puff). Nicotine is not instantly addictive. When you pick up a
cigarette, you are waking up an old habit pattern.
We expect habits to come back to us in an instant. No one is surprised that you
can jump in a swimming pool or hop on a bicycle after years of non-use
and these habits come back to you in an instant.
also remain active for months (two to five months) after you stop using them, and in the case of
large habits like smoking, make you uncomfortable if you don't use
the habit. You can't explain all the anomalies of smoking by pointing to
the chemical that medical experts said twenty years ago is out of your system in
two to three days.
Why is it important to recognize the habit problem?
Recognizing the habit for what it is can help you quit better, it's
that simple. Dealing with a massive behavior pattern is completely
different then dealing with a chemical addiction. How you quit has everything to do with your success. You wouldn't treat a
nail bitter the same way you would treat a heroine addict would you? The
two are completely different problems aren't they? They call for
completely different treatments.
At the Palmer Smoking Clinic I have been working with the behavioral
part of smoking for over 30 years. I have created a way to quit that
goes after the most important part of smoking, THE HABIT. I use hypnosis
with all it's benefits to help the smoker quit, quickly and comfortably.
I'm proud to say that no one else has this unique stop-smoking