About Benedict

I am on the team that set up Stop Smoking UK, and I currently maintain the website (data input, not programming!) and deal with routine admin matters. I am also a member of the development team for SSUK, which plans the long-term development of the site. I work closely with our web programmer who tells me what we can and can't have on the site!

The National Therapist Directory: hypnotherapists in Norwich


Acupuncturists and Hypnotherapists in Norwich

If you live in Norfolk you will know that the provision of services tends to be concentrated in Norwich itself, with a smaller range of options on the coast in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, and then there is very little until you go right over to King’s Lynn. This situation pertains in many rural areas, but the distances one has to travel in Norfolk, if one doesn’t live in Norwich, can be considerable. For hypnotherapy, which is usually provided in a single session, this is not so bad, but if you are going to have acupuncture in Norwich to stop smoking and you live a long way off, you need to be aware that this will typically involve three appointments.

We currently list just one acupuncturist in Norwich, which is a branch of National Stop Smoking Centres (who also have hypnotherapists in Norwich and further afield in Holt in north Norfolk), but a good selection of independent hypnotherapists in Norwich too. The National Health Service has a smoking cessation service in Norwich as well, which I imagine covers the whole county, if you want to take drugs to stop smoking.


Interesting news from the world of smoking

A statement I’ve heard today that from next year it is reckoned that some 50,000 Romanians and Bulgarians will immigrate into the UK made me wonder about smoking in those countries, and I found an interesting news item about anti-smoking legislation in Bulgaria. It seems that they have had a ban on smoking in enclosed public places since 2010 but that partial bans go back as far as 2005, so it looks like they are much in line with us in the UK on the problem.

What is somewhat different in Bulgaria is the public reaction to the legislation. Because of the negative reaction from the public, the government relaxed the total ban, on the grounds that it would harm tourism. One has to wonder about the veracity of this statement. After all, I should think that a large proportion of tourists in the country are from the rest of Europe and perhaps the USA, all countries where freedom from smoke in cafés, bars and so on would be taken for granted, and indeed expected. Perhaps they have tourists from Russia, and I admit I don’t know what the attitude of Russians is on the subject, but even so, I think it’s a lame excuse because of the reaction within Bulgaria itself.

Anyway, the reaction might surprise you. It certainly surprises me. Apparently, there is now talk of a political party being set up specifically to combat anti-smoking legislation, and given that they say 39% of Bulgarians smoke it could have some real support.

On the other hand, the party is headed by the usual suspects – people in the arts world who thrive on a bad-boy image (not so different from this country), and it may well be that it’s nothing more than a publicity stunt, likely even so to appeal to a significant number of people on the country. In the event of them actually fighting a general election campaign, I suspect that like the crank political parties in this country they will garner the support of a small number of people in the arty world who think it’s funny, but the rest of the electorate will have more important things to worry about than smoking laws.

The National Therapist Directory: hypnotherapists in Liverpool


Acupuncturists and Hypnotherapists in Liverpool

Merseyside is an exceptional situation in that there is, of course, a range of independent acupuncturists and hypnotherapists in Liverpool, and National Stop Smoking Centres branches (rather a lot, actually) and the National Health Service inevitably provides a smoking cessation service there, but there is also something called Fag Ends. If you live in Liverpool you may be familiar with this organisation, which I confess I was not, so I have been looking into who they are and what they do.

I was looking forward to see that Liverpool has an independent organisation providing a service to smokers, but I was disappointed. Fag Ends was originally conceived by the late musician Roy Castle, who suffered from a smoking-related disease (contracted, he believed, from passive smoking in the smoke-filled venues he played in over many years and which finally killed him). Unfortunately, what happened was that after his death the drug companies got their hands on Fag Ends. They simply will not tolerate an independent organisation helping smokers, because it might recommend therapies rather than drug products.

Fag Ends is now just an extension of the National Health Service, in that it is an outlet for the pharmaceutical companies that make nicotine replacement products and Champix.

Interesting news from the world of smoking

You can imagine that my eyebrows went up when I read this lead paragraph on EuroActiv.com:

“If the draft EU Tobacco Products Directive is approved, it will allow the continued sale of pharmaceutical products sold as aids to smoking cessation, which have been shown over and over again to be largely ineffective, says Gilbert Ross”.

Naturally, to read anyone saying such a thing about the drug products used by the National Health Service and promoted ad nauseam to smokers everywhere is refreshing. What the article is actually about, though, is smokeless tobacco, in the form of electric cigarettes but particularly snus. If you are not familiar with this latter, it is a form of tobacco that is simply held in the mouth in order to get a fix instead of smoking it. It is the smoke from tobacco, remember, that delivers so many toxins so quickly into the body.

I quote:

“The European Commission has released the draft of its latest Tobacco Products Directive, expressing the overall approach to regulation of tobacco and nicotine products planned for the 500 million residents of the 27 countries of the EU.

While some parts of it may have a beneficial impact on smoking rates, albeit minor, the net effect will be, paradoxically but inevitably, damaging to Europeans’ health. The directive proposes to continue (indeed strengthen) the prior ban on Swedish smokeless tobacco, known as snus.

Worse, restrictions and regulations dealing with the relatively new devices known as e-cigarettes will effectively ban them.

In the EU, where fully one-third of the adult population still smokes, there are almost 700,000 smoking-related deaths each year. The region is number one worldwide in the devastating effects of smoking — with this exception: In Sweden, the only EU country where snus is not banned, only 16% smoke.

This fact has been validated since those statistics began to be accumulated after World War II. The Swedish male population consumes more nicotine in the form of snus than from cigarettes – and they have the lowest rate of smoking-related disease and death in Europe to show for it.

Yet when Sweden was admitted into the EU in 1995, the continental ban on snus was in effect, and the country had to get an exemption to continue to manufacture and sell snus.

Enlightened public health experts in the region, and elsewhere, had hoped that the new directive would ease these restrictions, given the clear evidence of its efficacy in reducing the harm of tobacco, while the approved products for helping smokers quit fail over 90% of the time.”

Whilst to some extent this seems to be a puff for electric cigarettes, which we do not support, it all makes very interesting reading. For the full article go to: http://www.euractiv.com/health/eu-new-tobacco-products-directiv-analysis-516927#comment-9956

The National Therapist Directory: hypnotherapists in Rochdale


Acupuncturists and Hypnotherapists in Rochdale

I wrote recently about low-cost hypnotherapy in Wigan, and I see that National Stop Smoking Centres also have low-cost hypnotherapy in Rochdale. I am fairly familiar with north Manchester, and those places on the way out to Rochdale, and I agree that there is a need for the provision of help to stop smoking for people in that area that is at a reasonable cost. Many smokers will pay for private therapy if the National Health Service has been unable to help them to stop, but having said that even if the therapist can see that stopping smoking will have a payback for the client, when you are on a very limited income and you are faced with paying a large chunk of your month’s money for a single session of hypnotherapy, and you’ve been badly let down before with stopping smoking so you don’t have a huge amount of confidence that anything is going to work, it’s not going to be easy to commit this sort of money. I think hypnotherapists have to recognise that lack of confidence is part of an equation that happens in the smoker’s mind when they are considering booking an appointment.

If you are considering seeing a hypnotherapist in Rochdale and you don’t have much confidence that you can stop, I would recommend that you watch the videos on the National Stop Smoking Centres website (www.nationalstopsmokingcentres.org.uk), because there is one in the series of six about this problem of motivation that will help you. If you do finally get together the confidence to have a go, then at least you know you are going to be paying a manageable amount for your hypnotherapy.

Interesting comment from the world of smoking

Requires willpower?

If you look at any advertisement for nicotine replacement products, what you may have noticed is the statement that the product ‘Requires willpower.’ I want to explain why the drug companies put this on their ads, because it tells us rather a lot about how the market in smoking cessation drugs is controlled.

Advertising in this country is theoretically controlled, for truthfulness, in the interest of the consumer, by an organisation you may know as the Advertising Standards Authority, or ASA. You see ASA advertising quite regularly, informing you what a great job they doing protecting the consumers’ interests.

Before I come back to nicotine replacement product (NRP) advertising, let’s examine the ASA itself. With the word ‘Authority’ you could be forgiven for believing ASA is a statutory authority, i.e. a government regulatory agency. ASA is nothing of the kind. The government wanted the advertising industry to regulate itself, so they allowed it to set up a body that sounded like a statutory authority to convince the public. In other words, it is deliberately misleading. You might think that ironic, given ASA Ltd’s stated remit of banning misleading advertising, but that doesn’t concern us here.

What concerns us is how this abuse of power enables pharmaceutical companies to advertise, whilst making it very difficult for anyone who helps people with medical treatment, but who is not a drug company to do so. A good example is ASA Ltd’s campaign against the homeopathy profession in the interests of its sponsors, the drug companies, for whom homeopathy is a competitive threat.

So back to ‘Requires willpower’. It is a nonsense statement imposed by ASA Ltd in the mistaken belief that it would hamper therapists who help people stop smoking. In fact all it has achieved is to make the drug companies look foolish. What is the point of a drug product that requires willpower, the very thing smokers don’t have?

The National Therapist Directory: hypnotherapists in Barnet


Acupuncturists and Hypnotherapists in Barnet

The London Borough of Barnet is not an area I am at all familiar with, but looking at the Directory I see it covers places I have at least heard of, like Edgware and Finchley, plus some I haven’t, like Temple Fortune.

I see that National Stop Smoking Centres have branches in all of these places, for both hypnotherapy and acupuncture, and of course the National Health Service provide a smoking cessation service in the borough, with their nicotine replacement products and psychotropic drugs. There don’t seem to be any independent acupuncturists or hypnotherapists in Barnet listed yet, although with NSSC at least having hypnotherapists in Finchley and acupuncturists in Edgware that shouldn’t matter, but if you are yourself a therapist in Barnet who specialises in helping people to stop smoking do get yourself listed – there is a link on the Directory’s page for this.


New Year’s resolutions

It surprises me how may people go on about stopping smoking for the New Year. I’m not a New Year kind of person myself and I’ve never understood why anyone would think it represents a significant point in one’s life, but that’s probably just me being curmudgeonly.

Actually, I’m not really sure I’m alone in this. When I say everyone goes on about it, who is this everyone? I don’t actually believe many smokers decide to stop on the first of January. I think it’s one of those myths that just goes on and on without anyone stopping to ask questions about it. I think in fact the the media are the guilty party. Every New Year they write something about stopping smoking, usually a feature on the different ways to stop, more often than not backed by advertising from the drug companies pushing nicotine replacement products. In other words, New Year is a marketing opportunity for stop-smoking drugs. It’s a hook, and advertisers like hooks. It might not actually be a hook, by which I mean if smokers themselves are not thinking about stopping at this time then the hook is in the imagination of the drug companies (in which I include the National Health Service, which is the distribution arm of the pharmaceutical industry).

Enough about them – what about smokers? If that’s you, and you ARE thinking about stopping for New Year. I suggest you ask yourself how sensible this is. All right, perhaps I have to accept that you need a hook yourself, that it takes New Year for you to get motivated, but that’s my point here – WHY do you need that hook? Bearing in mind it’s a somewhat weak motivator, I have to ask, by which I mean I suggest you should ask yourself, if you aren’t motivated to stop smoking all the rest of the year how likely is it that this artificial prompt to stop smoking is going to help you very much?

What I am saying is if you haven’t been sufficiently motivated to stop smoking all year round, I think you are just putting it off. I think the New Year resolution might be an excuse. I suspect you are saying to yourself, “I don’t have to think about it now, I can enjoy my fags over Christmas with all my smoking friends, because I’m made a resolution to stop on 31st December.”

I think when you look at it like that you can see it’s nothing more than procrastination. And what happens if you don’t stop smoking that day, if it goes wrong? I suppose you’re going to decide to stop on your birthday, or National No Smoking Day in March, or any date as long as it’s not now.

Stop smoking books

To go straight to the StopSmokingUK review of stop smoking books, click here.

Stop smoking books

The purpose of the StopSmokingUK website is to give smokers as much information as possible to assist them. This means information about the different kinds of help there are to stop smoking, but the idea is to present a broad range of information about smoking generally, all of which will help the thinking smoker to make the right decisions.

There are very many stop smoking books on the market, and such a book is the first point of reference for some smokers, particularly the ones who are prepared to spend a little time and effort on helping themselves (as opposed to going to their GP for a drug that purports to do it for them). So how do you choose a good stop smoking book? They all seem to have a different message, and naturally they all claim that their ideas are the best, so given that you are likely to buy just one, which one should it be? How do you differentiate between those apparently conflicting messages?

It rather depends on you yourself, and what you are looking for. On our website we review the three main books that are available in the UK, so here is an introduction to them.

If you want a book that will ‘brainwash’ you into believing that you don’t need to smoke, then any book by the late Allen Carr might be for you. His books were quite good at persuading people not to smoke, as long as they didn’t stop and think about the logic of what he was saying too closely, because the logic didn’t really hold up to close scrutiny. You will find it a bit repetitive, which some people don’t like, whereas some people find that is just what they need to get the message to stick in their minds, which is why it was written that way. The book is a bit short on facts, if long on persuasive ideas, so as I say it suits a certain type of reader.

If on the other hand you want a book that is going to treat you as an intelligent adult then you might prefer The NSCI Stop Smoking Handbook, by Robert Brynin, the Research Director of the National Smoking Cessation Institute. This book, despite being used by stop-smoking therapists, is surprisingly readable. In fact it was written for smokers themselves, not therapists, although hypnotherapists and acupuncturists who work with smokers have taken to it in such a big way. The Handbook is in two parts. The first gives you all the information you are going to need to stop (and this really is information you don’t see elsewhere). The second part takes you through a series of exercises, using the information from part one, in a logical, easy-to-follow programme.

(You can read free sample pages of this book – click here.)

The third book we review is by Gillian Riley. This has neither the advantages of the Allen Carr book nor Robert Brynin’s, in that Ms Riley is a psychologist and her approach is to persuade the reader that smoking is purely a psychological problem. Allen Carr knew this is not true, whereas it’s all Gillian Riley has to offer, and since the great majority of smokers know they are addicted to nicotine, even if they don’t understand exactly what that means or what to do about it, a book that says addiction doesn’t matter, not as brainwashing but as a statement of medical fact, does rather lack credibility.

There are, as I said, many many more stop smoking books than these, but depending on what you are looking for you probably don’t need to look further than these three.

The National Therapist Directory: hypnotherapists in Wigan


Acupuncturists and Hypnotherapists in Wigan

I have never been to Wigan. I have spent a great deal of time in Manchester and Liverpool over many years, but for some reason Wigan has never been on my itinerary, so I know nothing about the place. I note though that National Stop Smoking Centres have one of their low-cost hypnotherapy branches there. I imagine this is in response to a need in the town for therapy that people can afford if they are in straitened circumstances, which suggests that Wigan is a deprived area, as we use to say, although I expect there is a more politically correct term now. The facts, though, remain the same; if Wigan and its surrounding area is not prosperous (and where is nowadays?) then there is certainly a need to provide help at a cost that most people can afford. It is never going to be possible to compete, if I might use that word, with the National Health Service, which can provide products free of charge to help people in Wigan stop smoking, but hypnotherapists in Wigan are providing a service that the NHS can’t, and some of those Wigan hypnotherapists will want to help as much as they can. Private therapists have to earn a living just like anyone else (including NHS staff), but having said that the attitude does vary a lot, especially among hypnotherapists rather than acupuncturists. I’m afraid I have to say the reason for this is that acupuncturists don’t, as a profession, charge any extra for helping people to stop smoking, whereas hypnotherapists often do, it being a maxim of many in the world of hypnotherapy that you charge smokers more because they are going to make a big financial saving when they stop. It’s not an attitude I would condone but then I’m not a hypnotherapist.

This page also covers Lowton and Skelmersdale.


Interesting news from the world of smoking

There’s a nice story in the Daily Mail this week about Mayor Bloomberg’s continuing campaign against smoking (among other things) in New York. Like a lot of media stories, it isn’t actually a story at all, because the press have got hold of a headline about something that isn’t in fact happening. What they are saying is that there is a new law afoot in the city that prohibits smoking in private homes. It’s a good headline, but there is no truth in it. There is a real story, but it wasn’t apparently strong enough for the papers so they made up their own one around it.

The real story is that the local authority in New York is going to encourage landlords of rented apartments to include a condition in their leases that prohibits smoking. If course this is already open to landlords to do, and I don’t know but I imagine some landlords not just in the the United States but in the UK and other countries as well routinely already do this. The difference in New York is that they have been given a grant by the Centres for Disease Control that enable them to offer an inducement to community groups to encourage (persuade?) landlords not only to include this condition for new tenants but to add it into their lease for existing tenants when the lease comes up for renewal. This raises the issue of a tenant suddenly finding that they can’t smoke in their apartment where they could before. The idea is that these tenants simply ‘move on’, although if there is a buyers’ market landlords might not be too keen on losing a good tenant for no better reason that that. I can see this producing plenty of work for New York lawyers!

The National Therapist Directory: hypnotherapists in Manchester


Acupuncturists and Hypnotherapists in Manchester

Manchester, which means all M postcode areas, including Salford, as you would expect has a very good choice of therapists to help you to stop smoking. The National Health Service, naturally, are well represented there with their drug products, and if taking drugs to stop smoking is your thing that there is plenty of help and advice available, either from their telephone advice service or of course from your GP.

On a more serious note, there are hypnotherapists and acupuncturists throughout the city, so you shouldn’t have to travel far to see someone. National Stop Smoking Centres are represented in the city with The Phoenix Stop-Smoking Programme (which is appropriate only for the hardest cases – if you think that’s you do read all the details on the website:http://www.national-smoking-cessation-institute.org/phoenix/index.htm), but there are also NSSC hypnotherapy and acupuncture branches in Sale, Prestwich and Salford.

Independent therapists are also represented in the greater Manchester area, with an acupuncturist in Salford, and hypnotherapists in Urmston, Stretford, Irlam and Chorlton-cum-Hardy. And finally there is an Allen Carr’s Easyway franchise in Manchester.

Interesting news from the world of smoking

Further to the recent ban on the open display of tobacco products in supermarkets, one of the biggest tobacco companies, Imperial Tobacco, has just lost its case in the British Supreme Court to get the ban overturned. Their argument was that the ban will not reduce the likely take-up of smoking by young people, but the court did not accept the argument. It was unlikely to do so, so I think the case was a long shot for Imperial Tobacco. No-one knows whether the ban will produce the desired effect, but on the balance of probabilities one has to say it might well do so. In addition, as I think I have mentioned before, there is no moral justification for displaying cigarettes in supermarkets. Actually, there is no moral justification for selling tobacco in supermarkets, but one step at a time.

The BBC website has been quoting from a recent study that shows that women who smoke, at all, meaning even if they smoke very little, have an increased risk of heart failure than women who do not smoke at all. This is quoted as suggesting that people (I’m guessing the fact that the study looked at women is not really significant) should stop smoking. I wouldn’t argue with that, but I am concerned that it seems to imply that smoking less is no better than smoking more. I think we have an enormous number of people who try to stop smoking and fail, and that there has to be a different model we could apply to these people that doesn’t ostracise them for smoking, so much, say, as smoking heavily.

So whilst the message stands that smoking, at all, is a bad thing, I wonder if we shouldn’t be looking at a supplemental message that if you really can’t stop then cutting down is a very valid and valuable second best.

The National Therapist Directory: Hypnotherapists in Bromley


Hypnotherapists in Bromley

Heading out of London we have a good number of therapists listed in Croydon, and the next stop head south-east is Bromley. There are of course many hypnotherapists in Bromley, and I am pleased to see we do now have a reasonable list for smokers to choose from, including National Stop Smoking Centres branches in both Bromley and Beckenham. As always, there is a dearth of acupuncturists, which is partly our responsibility for not making the effort to find more for you, but actually there just aren’t that many acupuncturists who specialise in helping people to stop smoking. This is something the National Smoking Cessation Institute is working on with their campaign to encourage acupuncturists to specialise in the important work. Meanwhile, as I say, we have several hypnotherapists in Bromley, and in any case hypnotherapy is the therapy that will work for most smokers.

News from the world of smoking

I have just been reading an interesting feature on the BBC website about James Buchanan Duke, “Father of the modern cigarette”.

It seems that Mr Buchanan is credited with developing the machinery and the business structure, that made him the first true purveyor of cigarettes to the masses. Jordan Goodman, the author of Tobacco in History, says that Buck Duke helped to create the modern cigarette by pioneering the marketing and distribution systems that led to the phenomenal success of cigarettes as a commercial product worldwide. Robert proctor of Stanford University says that, “The cigarette is the deadliest artefact in the history of human civilisation. It killed about 100 million people in the twentieth century”. This would probably have happened without Duke, because if not him then some other entrepreneur would have done the same thing, but to him goes the dubious honour of being credited with making it happen when it did.

What Duke did was to mechanise an existing industry in which cigarettes were hand rolled. His mechanisation was so successful that it left with a problem of overproduction. Now, he could manufacture more cigarettes than it was possible to sell into the existing market. So the challenge was to create a new market for that huge number of cigarettes.

In the fifteen years to 1900, cigarette smoking in the USA quadrupled. That, though, was just the beginning. This was the era of big advertising in America, and what started there soon arrived here. You have to remember that for many years it was thought, believe it or not, that cigarette were beneficial for the health. How people thought such a thing is hard to credit now, because how can inhaling tar be anything but bad?

The next big leaps for the cigarette industry was when women started to smoke, at first in private but eventually in public, on a large scale, and then the advent of the mass consumer market, especially since the second world war. What that has left us with is a belief that we can have anything we want, because we can afford it. What we are just beginning to realise is that, thanks to pioneers like Buck Duke we can afford the purchase price of tobacco but that is not the full price that we pay.


The National Therapist Directory: hypnotherapists in Cheltenham


Some stop-smoking services, particularly the National Health Service, seem to be centred on Gloucester but if, for example, you are looking for hypnotherapists in Cheltenham, you will have more success here, and I don’t know but although I am sure there are plenty of hypnotherapists in Gloucester most smokers will drive over to Cheltenham if there is a better choice of hypnotherapists there. I see that National Stop Smoking Centres is better represented there, with both acupuncturists and hypnotherapists in Cheltenham.

Smoking in the news

You have probably noticed the news that the Australian government has decided on a dramatic change to the laws on tobacco sales, in which tobacco companies will no longer be able to advertise their products on the packs themselves. I say dramatic, because apart from the effect on tobacco sales, which I shall come to in a moment, this must surely be the first law against a company labelling its own products, and that is a pretty big move. I don’t know if it is actually even legal; if it is, fair enough, but if not then I presume the government will have to make it legal (which is after all their prerogative), in which case what they are actually saying is that they can legislate against the sale of tobacco. Not where it is sold or advertised, or where it is smoked, but when you think about the significance of what they are doing you can see that what they are saying is companies can sell the product but they can’t actually say what the products is. (Interestingly, take a look at your pack of cigarettes. In all probability it doesn’t actually say what the pack contains – have you ever noticed that before?). Well, so much for the stuff I don’t know about, but what about the stuff I do, which means the impact on smokers? The stated aim is of course to reduce the attractiveness of cigarette packaging so that young people will not be induced to smoke. Is this likely to be effective. Not sure about that one. I’m not a psychologist, but I have a feeling that young people don’t start smoking because they like the look of cigarette packs. I’m guessing that in fact the impact on young people starting to smoke may well be minimal. I don’t know this – it’s just an educated guess. So am I negative about this new regulation? No, not at all. No, I don’t think it will do what the Australian government thinks or intends it will do, although I will be the first to congratulate them if it does, but I think the real effect will be both bigger and more profound than they might imagine. I suspect that this law sends a very strong message indeed, one that says that governments are determined to address tobacco and the destruction it causes, and that they are not afraid of the tobacco companies. I suspect that the effect of this move will be a greater public acceptance of tobacco as not a normal commercial product but a dangerous drug. And for that reason I believe the effect is likely to be really important in the fight against tobacco. Our own wimpy government, which IS afraid of the tobacco companies (as they are afraid of the banks, because they believe these companies underpin the UK economy, which is not true) will probably take a long time to catch up, but if nothing else our former colony is showing us the way forward.

The National Therapist Directory: Hypnotherapists in Barnet


Acupuncturists and Hypnotherapists in Barnet

I’m not entirely sure where Barnet is. I don’t mean I can’t find it on a map, I mean if I had to drive there I don’t think I would know if I had arrived. Looking at our Barnet page, I see it includes places like Edgware, which I always thought was in Middlesex, and if I’m not mistaken you write Middlesex as part of the address, but officially it is apparently part of the London Borough of Barnet, so I remain confused.

And Finchley and Temple Fortune both seem to have London postcodes, so why are they in Barnet? I confess I don’t know, but after some research given that I am responsible for making sure smokers can find a hypnotherapist in Finchley or an acupuncturist in Edgware, I decided that as puzzled as I am so are other people probably, so places like Finchley and Temple Fortune are listed here, in Barnet in Hertfordshire, as well as in ‘London postcodes’. If you know any better, or you are a hypnotherapist in Edgware, say, and you want to show in the correct place, do please email and let me know how this all works.

Meanwhile, even if the logic is far from clear, I will continue to work on the basis of showing these locations on more than one page in the Directory, so wherever smokers look they will find what they need.

News from the world of smoking

The BBC have recently featured on their website a study of smoking in women that purports to show that most of the damage to your health happens after the age of 30. The headline was that women who stop smoking by the age of thirty ‘evade earlier death risks’.

I’m not sure if this is good news or not, especially given that very few young people stop smoking; in fact the median age for smokers who seek stop-smoking therapy, according to The National Smoking Cessation Institute, is the mid-forties. Indeed the article goes on to quote warnings that this information should not be seen by young women as a licence to continue smoking until they are 30. It also fails to mention that although this figure applies to women, that is only because the research has been done with women, because this is apparently the first large-scale, long-term study specifically of women’s smoking since women started smoking as much as men after the second world war.

What is also pointed out in the article, although perhaps not as strongly as it might have been, is that the issue for young smokers is not of course that they are going to die younger. A woman in her twenties is unlikely to be too concerned that she might die, say, at the age of seventy-five rather than eighty-five. For young women the bigger issues are the more immediate effects on their health and fitness, on their complexion and their general cosmetic appearance but, perhaps most importantly, on their ability to reproduce. This might helpfully be seen in conjunction with the fact that women are now leaving it so late, in some case too late, to start having children, and this fact, coupled with smoking, is seemingly an increasing reason why so many women are failing to get pregnant when they finally do want to.

It would therefore seem that young women are failing to consider the real cost of smoking when they decide that it is something they can do until they have to ‘grow up’ and get serious about life. Indeed, that could be a more serious mistake than many realise, and the damage may already be done in fact even before the age of thirty.