The National Therapist Directory: Hypnotherapists in Exeter

CLICK HERE TO GO STRAIGHT TO THE LISTING OF ACUPUNCTURISTS AND HYPNOTHERAPISTS IN EXETER TO HELP YOU STOP SMOKING

There seems to be a strange anomaly in the West Country when it comes to therapists of all kinds. The first thing I notice is that there are a lot of them, as an absolute, not only in relation to the size of the population. So what I see is a smaller population than other English regions, with the concomitant smaller population of smokers, but apparently at least as many therapists per square mile, which means a higher proportion of therapists to potential clients. I am guessing that this state of affairs comes about not because therapists settle in the West Country in the belief that their services are especially needed in that region, but that they just decide to go and live there because it’s a great place to live. And since very many therapists go into their chosen therapy having had perhaps a fairly lengthy and successful first career, they are often not tied to their original location. I might go as far as to suggest that for many therapists moving to Devon or Cornwall is a form of semi-retirement, and their therapy is a kind of retirement plan (that might or might not work in financial terms).

At this stage we still have only a small selection of acupuncturists and hypnotherapists in Exeter listed but I am expecting that once local practitioners get to hear about our service then this number will grow dramatically, and we should see the same kind of competition between therapists as we see for example in local directories like Yellow Pages and Thompson Local.

Another issue is that in Devon the distances people will travel for therapy, or any other important service, are considerably greater than in many parts of the country, so hypnotherapists in Exeter for example will have a really quite large catchment area, with clients travelling certainly from Tiverton and Honiton and of course the very many villages in between.

Interesting

Here is an interesting little item I read somewhere. I can’t remember where it was I saw it, but I’ve had it filed in my computer ever since in case I ever had an opportunity to publish it, so here it is.

Dear Cecil:

Why, when someone stops using a drug abruptly, do they call it going “cold turkey”?

Michael W., Washington, D.C.

Cecil replies:

Some say it’s because heroin addicts undergoing withdrawal are so pale and covered with goose bumps their skin looks like that of an uncooked turkey. As with most good stories, however, this appears to be crapola. “Cold turkey,” which dates from 1916, is related to “talk turkey,” meaning to cut the comedy and talk frankly. Similarly, when you go cold turkey, you dispense with the preliminaries and get right down to it. Why turkey rather than crested titmouse, say, is not clear, but perhaps it was because the turkey, as your standard U.S. game fowl, recalled the no-bull simplicity of frontier life.

Cecil Adams

The National Therapist Directory: Hypnotherapists in Eastbourne

CLICK HERE TO GO STRAIGHT TO THE LISTING OF ACUPUNCTURISTS AND HYPNOTHERAPISTS IN EASTBOURNE TO HELP YOU STOP SMOKING

Hypnotherapists in Eastbourne

Eastbourne is of itself a reasonably large town (and an attractive one I should say from my slight acquaintance with it – arriving by train I find myself much taken with the provincialism of the railway station, and I mean that as a compliment), of, according to Wikipedia, almost 100,000 people. What I note particularly about the place is that it is the centre of a really rather large catchment area; people from much of East Sussex, including Hailsham and Heathfield, and even as far as Uckfield, consider it the place to go for needs such as therapy. I suspect Newhaven residents would rather travel into Eastbourne than head west for Brighton.

Our Eastbourne page currently includes the National Stop Smoking Centres hypnotherapy branch in the town and one other hypnotherapist, in Hailsham, which will, notwithstanding what I just said, attract clients form many of the surrounding villages. There is, almost inevitably, contact information for the local National Health Service smoking cessation service. I can’t tell you how good this might be, because we list the NHS as a matter of course but they don’t inform us of any of their details. In any case, of course, they will be providing nicotine replacement products and psychotropic drugs, and I imagine of you want these products to stop smoking you will already know what your own GP has to offer.

The nearest other areas we’re covering in the Directory at present are Lewes (with a National Stop Smoking Centres hypnotherapy branch), and Newhaven and Uckfield, as mentioned above, which have no therapists listed so we might decide to just include those places in Brighton and Eastbourne.

‘Stoptober’

In case you think mention of this means we are capitalising on the campaign, this is not true. I look at a lot of therapists websites (it’s my job, otherwise why would I?) and it strikes me that not a few have decided to capitalise on the campaign. After all, if the Department of Health is going to publicise a campaign is this not a bandwagon anyone can jump onto?

My opinion on this is that any hypnotherapist jumping onto that particular bandwagon may be shooting themselves in the foot. First of all, I don’t know about you but the very name ‘Stoptober’ is gruesome. I expect someone thought it was a good idea, but I just find it embarrassing, so why would you want your own smoking cessation service to use the name? On the other hand, maybe it’s just me. Maybe people find it acceptable. Or maybe they just don’t care.

And what, in any case, is the campaign actually saying? That people should stop smoking for a month? I suspect that even the people at the Department of Health know this is silly. Let’s be open about this; what is actually going on here is that the pharmaceutical companies who make nicotine replacement products are worried about their sales figures and they came up with a way to get a whole load of smokers to use the products for a month. Just think – let’s say fifty thousand smokers go on the products for a month, at whatever the value of that is to the manufacturers. I suspect it’s not a bad marketing campaign, given that it has no advertising cost.

If a hypnotherapist wants to use the campaign for their own advertising, that’s their decision of course, and maybe the public can’t see what’s going on, and maybe it doesn’t matter. I just thought I would mention it.

The National Therapist Directory: Hypnotherapists in Belfast

CLICK HERE TO GO STRAIGHT TO THE LISTING OF ACUPUNCTURISTS AND HYPNOTHERAPISTS IN BELFAST TO HELP YOU STOP SMOKING

Hypnotherapists in Belfast

It is still early days for our development in Northern Ireland, and we are so far only able to provide information about stop-smoking therapists in Antrim. We look forward to both hypnotherapists and acupuncturists throughout the province coming forward, especially in the other major places like Londonderry, Armagh and Fermanagh, where there must be people looking for help to stop smoking.

In Antrim we’re showing hypnotherapists in Belfast itself, of course, and also in Newtownabbey (a National Stop Smoking Centres branch) and Ballymena for those smokers to the north of the city (or even to the south, for those who prefer not to travel into Belfast). We’re very pleased also that there are two acupuncturists listed; we have had difficulty getting enough acupuncturists to list themselves on many of our pages, which results in smokers being disappointed when they look for one.

Allen Carr’s Easyway has a franchise in Belfast, which we would expect, but so far we haven’t been able to locate any National Health Service stop-smoking service at all in Antrim, which is very surprising. There must be one, so if you know of one do please contact us, or them, so we can get this sorted out. There will be lots of people in Belfast who want to take NHS drugs to stop smoking, and the information about these drugs should be available to them. Belfast City Council has a page about stopping (with the usual sort of completely pointless ‘advice’ which makes them feel they have provided help without stopping to think if they really have) and yet even they don’t have a link to a local NHS service. Odd.

World smoking news

Apparently a tobacco company has tried to challenge a new law banning the use of cigarette vending machines in Scotland. I had thought that cigarette vending machines had been banned years ago throughout Britain (I haven’t seen one for a long time, have you?) but seemingly not, or at least not in Scotland.

A subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco, called Sinclair Collis, which operates 1700 such machines throughout Scotland, had challenged the law, which actually came into force in 2010, in an attempt to get it overturned. That’s rather desperate – you wouldn’t think the profit form such a small number of vending machines would be worth all the fuss, let alone the legal costs. The company took the case to the Court of Session last May, and they have now been informed that their challenge has failed.

And staying in Scotland, a letter has just been sold at auction, written by one William Adams, a medical student in Edinburgh in 1799, in which he describes the dangers of smoking (which in those days was mostly pipe smoking). If a student knew it back then, long before cigarettes were mass produced, can there be any doubt that the tobacco companies have always known they were selling a product that was morally indefensible?

The National Therapist Directory: Hypnotherapists in Brighton and Hove

CLICK HERE TO GO STRAIGHT TO THE LISTING OF HYPNOTHERAPISTS IN BRIGHTON AND HOVE TO HELP YOU STOP SMOKING

Hypnotherapists in Brighton and Hove

This is the home of National Stop Smoking Centres, so you would expect them to be well represented in Brighton and Hove, which they are with hypnotherapy branches in both Brighton and Hove, as well as a branch providing their famous Phoenix Stop-Smoking Programme in Hove. I understand they did have an acupuncture branch in the town as well, and I’m informed they are working on reinstating this service as soon as possible.

Brighton and Hove is officially a city, which if you know the place seems a little odd. I suspect this has more to do with the local council wanting the status than in any way describing the place. If are familiar with Brighton, as I am, you may agree with me that it just doesn’t feel like a city, and in fact although its name is Brighton and Hove, the two names represent towns of quite different character which happen to be adjacent.

Having said that, Brighton is one of the country’s major centres for complementary medicine. A glance at yell.com or thomsonlocal.com will show you not just the profusion of hypnotherapists and acupuncturists but osteopaths, homeopaths and practitioners of almost every stripe. I sometimes think Brighton has more therapists than patients. How they all make a living I don’t know, and perhaps they don’t.

Coming back to stopping smoking, given the number of therapists in the town we would have expected that by now more would have got themselves listed on our website, so if you are a Brighton hypnotherapist or acupuncturist who can help smokers please do click here to get to the National Therapist Directory home page, where you will see a link for requesting inclusion.

World smoking news

The people who do my kind of work tend to get fixated on issues of smoking in the UK, the rest of Europe and the US, and we kind of assume that in the developing world there are so many other big issues that tobacco control just doesn’t interest people.

I have just been reading about Rwanda, a country that most British people would associate with issues so destructive that tobacco simply wouldn’t feature, and yet the Rwandan government has just passed a bill every bit as restrictive as the legislation here in the UK. Indeed, not only does the new law restrict the places people can smoke (which means all the public places we are used to here) but there was even a move afoot to ban the sale of tobacco altogether. We couldn’t imagine such an idea in the UK, could we? Anyway, it was just a suggestion, but given that Rwanda is a tobacco-producing country it was an extreme one.

I might even go as far as to suggest that any country that concerns itself with the damage done to its citizens’ health by tobacco is indeed well on the way to being worth consideration as a fully-developed country. Am I being chauvinistic in thinking that this kind of legislation is one sign of a civilised nation?

Another interesting point I picked up in the same news item (which I found on the website of East African Business Week) is an apparent connection between smoking and tuberculosis. TB is a big problem in the third world, and I guess it’s because it’s such a minor issue here in Britain that we haven’t thought about such a connection. I don’t know any more about it at the moment, but I shall be keeping my antennae tuned in for information about this, which I hope to report on in a future blog.

 

The National Therapist Directory: Hypnotherapists in Southampton

FOR DETAILS OF HYPNOTHERAPISTS IN SOUTHAMPTON, YOU CAN SKIP STRAIGHT TO THE DIRECTORY BY CLICKING HERE

Hypnotherapists in Southampton

Having visited Southampton for the first time recently and been very much impressed with the city, I decided to look at our Southampton page to see how many therapists we have listed there. In such a vibrant city I imagined there would be a lot of stop-smoking therapists working, but if there are they are not well represented on our website, other than, as you would expect, National Stop Smoking Centres.

The purpose of the National Therapist Directory is to show smokers the range of services on offer to help them to stop. It is not intended to suggest one way is better than another, but it is very much intended to give smokers a choice. The aim of the National Health Service is to restrict choice for smokers. This may sound odd to you, but when you realise that the NHS’s smoking cessation services are funded by the pharmaceutical companies you begin to see it’s not odd at all. The NHS has effectively sold itself to the drug companies simply because it cannot afford to run some of its services itself. The effect of this is that the NHS has to ‘sell’ the drug companies’ products, which are nicotine replacement products and psychotropic drugs (Zyban and Champix), and in the world of business promoting one product involves discouraging people from using another product. Promoting drug products for smoking cessation necessitates discouraging smokers from seeking independent help from, say hypnotherapists or acupuncturists.

You may agree with me at this point that this is immoral. In any case, our function at StopSmokingUK is not to do what the NHS does, which is push smokers in one particular direction, but rather to show smokers what choices there are, without bias. For this reason, in important cities like Southampton particularly we hope to bring you a wider choice of as many therapists as soon as possible.

Is ‘Stoptober’ for real?

Will someone pinch me .. please. Has the Department of Health actually launched a campaign called ‘Stoptober’? Let’s leave aside for the moment whether this is a good idea or a completely barmy one, and look at the name itself. I have no idea if they paid some smart London consultancy company for this name, in which case I insist as a taxpayer that they ask for their money back, or they held a competition among the staff and the office junior’s assistant came up with this and for reasons best known only to the department they adopted it. Actually, they probably asked a local junior school to think of a name and then when this was the best one they realised they were stuck with it. Anyway, it is truly awful and embarrassing and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves and they deserve all the stick they are likely to get in the media for it. No, on second thoughts they probably won’t, because I would be surprised in any newspaper even mentions it. Most editors, if my experience in the industry is a guide, will take one look at this, snort with derision, and bin it.

Now let’s consider whether running a campaign to convince people to stop for a month is a good idea. No, it’s an incredibly foolish one. Is there anyone on the Health Department who knows anything about smoking? Is there anyone there who understands the difference between stopping for a month and stopping? Because I can tell them now, as if I should have to, that there isn’t one. Stopping for a month is stopping. So what they are saying to smokers is stop smoking, only they aren’t calling it stopping they’re calling it stopping for a month.

Smokers are used to being insulted, but this takes the biscuit.

The National Therapist Directory: Hypnotherapists in Cambridge

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF HYPNOTHERAPISTS IN CAMBRIDGE, WITH CONTACT DETAILS.

Acupuncturists and hypnotherapists in Cambridge

In East Anglia people are prepared to travel considerable distances for important things like seeing a hypnotherapist, so we have a page for Cambridge which covers a wide area, from Newmarket to Saffron Walden. We show separate pages for Huntingdon and Ely but these don’t as yet have any therapists and it may be that they are too small to justify pages of their own on the site. At present we are undecided whether to list therapists in these towns separately or under Cambridge, and will make that decision as therapists request listings.

As with many locations through the country, there are simply no acupuncturists coming forward yet to get listed in Cambridge, so the first one to do so will be in a monopoly position. If you are a Cambridge acupuncturist who can help smokers to stop, get in first! If you are a smoker who wants acupuncture, I can only advise that you visit the website of the British Acupuncture Council. You may have to call quite a few acupuncturists, because most do not specialise in smoking cessation.

There are of course a number of Cambridge hypnotherapists, including, inevitably a branch of National Stop Smoking Centres, and I see that Allen Carr’s Easyway have a Cambridge franchise, and of course we show details of the local NHS stop-smoking service for those people who want to take drugs to stop smoking.

Do therapists need a website?

You may notice, looking at the Cambridge page on our website, that some hypnotherapists have websites and some don’t. National Stop Smoking Centres, being a large national service provider, does of course have a large website, but do independent hypnotherapists need a site?

The answer is not that they need a site but they need to compete, and if you are not giving people access to information about yourself you are just not competing. A website doesn’t have to be very big or very detailed, and a straightforward one should cost no more than a few hundred pounds. There are even companies who provide a do-it-yourself service, and looking at the results of some of these I would say they are not too bad. Do bear in mind though that there will also be a cost for your domain and hosting, and something many people don’t think about which is maintenance and updating. If you already have a website, do revisit it say once a year and consider tidying it up and improving on what you thought was a good idea at the time, but on reflection might not be.

A website that is providing information about a professional service should itself look professional, and I’m afraid I do see sites that are badly designed, or are over-designed, or in some sad cases just plain embarrassing. Sad to say, if I had to give a bad website design award in the world of hypnotherapy, it would have to go to one of the many hypnotherapy societies. I won’t say which one because I don’t want to embarrass them, but I hope that they are working on scrapping what they have in favour of something, anything, better.

 

The National Therapist Directory: Hypnotherapists in Milton Keynes …

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF HYPNOTHERAPISTS IN MILTON KEYNES, WITH CONTACT DETAILS.

Acupuncturists and hypnotherapists in Milton Keynes

I have never been to Milton Keynes (I know people make jokes about it but I have passed through it on the train and it looks much like anywhere else to me, which is possibly the reason for the jokes, I wouldn’t know). What we have noticed looking at a map is that it seems a town spread out over a wide area, and when this happens our policy with the Directory is to include the whole area, including any suburbs and outlying villages within the catchment area, so you can see when looking at the Directory what there is to offer across the whole district.

For this reason there are hypnotherapists in Atterbury, Great Linford and Deanshanger (the last two are branches of National Stop Smoking Centres), and others which I think are in the town itself. The National Health Service has some sort of stop-smoking service in Milton Keynes and there is a franchise of Allen Carr’s Easyway too.

What is conspicuous by its absence though is a list of acupuncturists who can help people to stop smoking. There must be some in Milton Keynes, so if that’s you please get yourself listed because we do get smokers searching the Directory for acupuncturists and we don’t want them to be disappointed.

Some questions from our postbag

A question has come in from a smoker looking for a hypnotherapist in Huddersfield to help her stop smoking. She asked specifically about the difference between a ‘hypnotherapist’ and a ‘clinical hypnotherapist’. She had seen therapists describing themselves both ways and her instinct was to go for someone called a clinical hypnotherapist but nevertheless she wanted to check out what the difference is. The answer is that there is none. Neither does ‘remedial hypnotherapist’ have any special meaning. There is nothing to stop a hypnotherapist attaching the word ‘clinical’ but to be honest it’s gilding the lily. Clinical is a nice word that anyone can use but to be scrupulous about this it really doesn’t apply to hypnotherapy. We have no objection to its use, but hypnotherapists are not actually clinicians, which is a word that applies to medical treatment.

Another issue we are unhappy about is hypnotherapists referring to their clients as ‘patients’. A patient is someone who is seeing a medical practitioner. A hypnotherapist practises hypnotherapy, which is not generally called medicine, and therefore the people they see are properly called clients. An acupuncturist is a medical practitioner, and therefore they do see patients, but a hypnotherapist shouldn’t.

If a hypnotherapist uses the word ‘patients’ they are trying to give themselves status to which they are not entitled, and any therapist who does that might find that while it impresses some smokers it might have the opposite effect on others. Similarly, although, as I say, we have no strong objection to the word ‘clinical’ in conjunction with hypnotherapists, it is not really appropriate or necessary, and the suspicion is that the therapist is giving themselves airs, which could, I suspect, have a negative effect on prospective clients, which is somewhat shooting oneself in the foot.

The National Therapist Directory: Hypnotherapists in Croydon …

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF ACUPUNCTURISTS AND HYPNOTHERAPISTS IN CROYDON, WITH CONTACT DETAILS.

Acupuncturists and hypnotherapists in Croydon

Croydon is a major centre of population and therefore it is not surprising that it is also a centre for therapists. Thomsonlocal.com alone lists sixty hypnotherapists and thirty four acupuncturists in Croydon and yell.com has ten pages of acupuncturists, although most of these do not specialise in smoking cessation, or even offer such a service at all, as stopping smoking is rather a specialised branch of acupuncture.

Our page for Croydon currently includes therapists from South Croydon, Sanderstead and South Norwood, but I expect it to build up to include therapists from Beddington, Selhurst, Thornton Heath and Addiscombe as well, and we’re not sure yet whether we should include therapists in Wallington and Carshalton in Croydon or Sutton. When therapists from those areas ask to be included it is up to them where they are listed.

Our Croydon page has four hypnotherapists (including National Stop Smoking Centres) but only one acupuncturist (also NSSC), so I am going to repeat the appeal I seem to make most weeks which is for acupuncturists to get themselves listed so that Croydon smokers can have a choice. If you want acupuncture to stop smoking and you do want a bigger choice, I can only recommend that you search the website of the British Acupuncture Council, which lists all qualified acupuncturists in the country (other than doctors, who have their own governing body). The BAcC should be advising their members to get listed with us, but they seem to somewhat disorganised on this matter.

A question from our postbag

A question I’ve answered this week was about fees. A smoker in Winchmore Hill in north London wrote to ask what is a fair fee to pay for hypnotherapy to stop smoking. This is a delicate question. Two major factors are that understandably some parts of the country will be more expensive than others and hypnotherapy for smoking tends to be more expensive than for other problems.

Let’s look at the geographical differences first. City-centre therapists have to pay very high rents for premises so this can only be reflected in fees. Interestingly high fees also seem to apply throughout, for example, the home counties, even for therapists who have consultation rooms in their own homes, so I think you can say fees throughout the south- east are higher for the simple reason that everyone expects them to be. Other than property prices, it is no more expensive to live and practise hypnotherapy in Hertfordshire than Lancashire and I think prices in the former are inflationary. I’ve looked, as an example, at the National Stop Smoking Centres fee for hypnotherapy in Winchmore Hill, and I see it’s £250, which I think is realistic. However, there are in my opinion too many therapists who think that because they practise in an upmarket area that clients will expect the fees to be high and charge accordingly. I don’t think charging ‘what the market will bear’ is appropriate for a therapist.

The extra that many hypnotherapists charge for smoking cessation is a similar issue. It is commonly said that since smokers are going to save a lot when they stop they can expect to pay more than they would for hypnotherapy for other problems. My advice is to question this attitude, on the basis that more expensive does not mean better. In fairness, hypnotherapy sessions are usually a fixed length whereas for smoking cessation not only are they often exceptionally long (typically an hour and a half) but most good hypnotherapists are flexible on timing, allowing as much as it takes, within reason.

I don’t have a definitive fee range that I think is reasonable, but I should say smokers should avoid those hypnotherapists in city centres, especially London, charging £300, on the basis first, as I just said, that you cannot assume that this means they have exceptional skills and also because I think you might ask yourself if you really need to go into London, say, when you might work there but live in the suburbs, where you could save £100 or more.

The National Therapist Directory: Hypnotherapists in Reading …

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF ACUPUNCTURISTS AND HYPNOTHERAPISTS IN READING, WITH CONTACT DETAILS.

Hypnotherapists in Reading

Thames Valley is a densely-populated area and smokers expect to be able to see a hypnotherapist pretty close to where they live, for example in Maidenhead or Slough, but Reading is a major population centre and we find we have therefore a considerable number of hypnotherapists listed on our Reading page, which includes outlying areas like Earley and Woodley.

I see that Allen Carr’s Easyway have a franchise in Reading which is listed, as is the local NHS stop-smoking service contact phone number, and of course National Stop Smoking Centres have hypnotherapy branches in Woodley and Reading itself. What is lacking though is any acupuncturists. If you are an acupuncturist in the Reading area do get yourself listed, because of course in a town the size of Reading there are smokers looking for help to stop with acupuncture. You can do this by going to the StopSmokingUK home page – then click on National Therapist Directory and you will see on the right a link for getting listed.

By the way, have you noticed that Google gets confused between ‘Reading’ and ‘reading’? The problem is caused by towns that have names that are also ordinary words that people might search for. If you want to read about stopping smoking, you might search for ‘stop smoking reading’, and Google is unable, because it doesn’t differentiate between upper and lower case, to see this is not a search for the town in Berkshire.

Some questions from our postbag

The first question from my postbag this week was from a hypnotherapist from Cheltenham wanting to know why we include details of National Health Service stop-smoking services in the National Therapist Directory. Surely, they say, everyone knows how to get that information. Shouldn’t we have a directory of the alternatives? Actually no, because we are not an ‘alternative’ stop-smoking service, whatever that might mean. We are a stop-smoking service, and what we don’t do is make judgments about what is good and bad. Whilst the NHS’s policy of feeding more nicotine to smokers, and putting them on psychotropic drugs, is increasingly discredited, it has to be said that given the huge number of people taking these drug products some of them are of course succeeding in stopping smoking, and why would we criticise that?

Similarly, we include therapists in the directory without looking into their qualifications, although this is not strictly true, because it is a minimum requirement that hypnotherapists belong to a hypnotherapy society. The Directory makes no claim to help smokers make a judgment about any particular therapist. With acupuncturists, you do at least have the reassurance that everyone listed is a member of either the British Acupuncture Council or the British Medical Acupuncture Society, but there are quite a few hypnotherapy societies and we don’t want to get involved in which is more meaningful. If you do a random Google search for, say, a Redditch hypnotherapist, you will find a number of societies with their directories of members, as well as any number of therapists all displaying different credentials on their websites. So how do you know which set of initials to trust? The best advice we can give is that if you are not sure go for a National Stop Smoking Centres hypnotherapist.

The National Therapist Directory: Acupuncturists in York

CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST OF HYPNOTHERAPISTS AND ACUPUNCTURISTS IN YORK, WITH CONTACT DETAILS.

From The Advice Service

The question I’ve picked out of our postbag this week came from a smoker who has been trying to stop for a long time, and had taken Champix, prescribed by his GP. This hadn’t helped, indeed not only had it not helped but the patient had suffered some fairly worrying psychological side-effects from the drug. His GP, thankfully, had refused to prescribe a second course for him, and his question to us was where he could buy Champix privately.

Our answer was, in short, not to be so stupid. He had clearly failed to understand what he was messing with. Champix is a powerful psychotropic drug. That means its job is to alter the way your brain works. That is not something you do lightly. GPs are aware of the dangers of its use – they are paid to be. They are also very aware of the danger to their careers if they re-prescribe a psychotropic drug for a patient who has already had a psychotic reaction to it. If your GP refuses to re-prescribe such a drug, he is looking after himself, but for once be grateful that he is, because you will benefit from his caution.

No Smoking Day

National No Smoking Day this year fell on Wednesday, and as usual it produced a crop of news stories picked up by editors keen to do something but not really interested in what. I thought it would be entertaining to reproduce a few of them here. (And by the way, I noticed not a few editors, who couldn’t even be bothered to read the press release properly, calling it National Stop Smoking Day.)

The British Medical Association put out a statement that the UK could be entirely free of smoking by 2035. I don’t know what they base this idea on, but I would hazard a guess that they don’t base it on anything, other than someone deciding what date the media might be likely to accept. I do think that the world, at least the western world, will stop smoking at some time, but I don’t imagine for a moment it will be in my lifetime. I’m not going to tell you how old I am, so you will have to be content with the general statement. It is not hard to imagine smoking being an historical relic in, say, a hundred years from now, but not a lot sooner than that. If you can’t imagine no-one smoking, just look back to say the 1970′s, when everyone was smoking, in offices and shops, on public transport, even in GP surgeries and hospitals. A young person would find that as hard to imagine now as we find it to imagine no-one ever smoking. So things change.

Rochdale Online published an intriguing piece about chewing tobacco. I didn’t know this but apparently it is common among certain Asian communities to chew tobacco after a meal, in the belief this aids digestion. It is, of course, highly dangerous, as the toxins in the tobacco are absorbed in a very concentrated form. These are not just swallowed, but because they are absorbed through the lining of the mouth and throat they are likely to cause cancer in these areas with prolonged use.

The Borehamwood Times ran a slightly desperate piece about advice from the local fire service to smokers to not leave cigarettes unattended as this can cause .. wait for it .. yes, fires.

The Norwich Evening News ran a piece which I read but I’m not really sure what it was saying, which just shows how easy it is for a newspaper to fill space totally meaninglessly when required. The gist seems to be that smokers should go to their local pharmacy for help with stopping smoking, so I guess the piece was paid for by them.

The story from Wales Online was that fewer young people are smoking. I would take this idea with a large pinch of salt. In my experience, success stories from the NHS about reductions in smoking are largely guesswork and wishful thinking, and have more to do with keeping their budgets going that much else. Interestingly, the piece finished by stating that a quarter of adults in Wales are ex-smokers. It’s an intriguing figure, although how they could possibly know this is a mystery to me. I imagine it’s much like other government statistics.

I was much interested by a piece in The Press, from York, stating that more than half of North Yorkshire smokers blame a ‘lack of support and motivation to give up’. I find it difficult to connect support with motivation. In any case, smokers can hardly say the NHS / drug company combine doesn’t provide support for stopping – it is after all the business they are in. You could hardly miss the ‘support’ these days, on the Web, in GP surgeries, in the print media. I suspect what some North Yorkshire smokers are saying is that the quality of the support is the problem, not the quantity, and who could argue with that?

Various articles I have seen attempt to gauge the number of people who are likely to try stopping smoking on No Smoking Day, and they come out somewhere between 750,000 and a million. A million would represent one smoker in twelve trying to stop, on one day. Have they any idea how silly that is? Where do they get these numbers from? As far as I can see, they are just that – numbers. They don’t mean anything, and they are not based on any kind of research. They just look good in the media, and people read them, like they read most news stories, not only uncritically but without giving it a moment’s thought, because most of what we read in the media is just stuff, by which I mean it is so unimportant we don’t waste any time or energy thinking about whether it’s likely to be true or not.

In fact I’m told by Robert Brynin, the Research Director of the National Smoking Cessation Institute, that the increase in enquiries they receive from smokers on No Smoking Day is, wait for it … NIL!!

So my last word on this subject is that No Smoking Day concerns the media but singularly fails to interest smokers.

Moving on from that subject, which I think I’ve done to death, I have been asked why, with all the useful information there is on our new website, there is nothing about the evils of smoking. Why is there no information about the harm smoking does, and all the poisons it contains? In other words, why aren’t we trying to persuade people to stop smoking?

It’s quite simple. Stop Smoking UK is not that kind of service. We’re here to give smokers information about what kind of help is available to help them stop, how to choose the right methods for their circumstances, and where to get that help once they’ve pinned it down. That’s quite a big job, although if we felt more needed to be included we would do just that, but we don’t believe the average smoker needs to be told those things. If you smoke, you know precisely why you would better not doing so. Not only do you not need us to tell you all that but we believe if we did go on about it, it might well have the negative effect of turning people away from what we ARE saying. There is enough information about why you should stop smoking, but there is a dearth of good information on how to. Yes, there is a lot about stopping – you can’t avoid it there is so much, but as I have already said in a previous news item, there is far too much timewasting information that serves no purpose. Like the rest of the Web, the stop-smoking field is full of people with something to say, but let’s be honest about this, if all this information amounted to anything more people would be stopping smoking. I’m actually of the view that the sheer volume of information is counterproductive, that smokers read the same tired old information and lose hope.

National Therapist Directory update

We are getting well ranked on the search engines in certain areas – major cities obviously, but it’s a peculiarity of the Web that we get what seems like a disproportionate number of hits from smokers looking for a hypnotherapist in Truro or Rushden, where you would expect more from Manchester or Birmingham. I have no idea why this might be. So the problem we face at present is that we simply don’t have enough therapists asking to be listed in these smaller location. Towns the size of Lewes and Retford, for example, don’t have enough therapists, but at least have some, whereas many smaller places have none at all.

If you are a hypnotherapist who isn’t listed, it’s completely free, so please go to the National Therapist Directory page and click on ‘list your practice’. Even more so, we really want more acupuncturists; we have acupuncturists in York and Walsall and other large towns and cities, but smokers all over the country are recognising what acupuncture has to offer, so if you are a member of the British Acupuncture Council please get yourself listed, and tell your colleagues.