Hypnotized to forget smoking? - FOX 13 News

Hypnotized to forget smoking?

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It's hard to believe there was a time when doctors helped sell cigarettes and were featured endorsing them.

Even Fred Flintstone lent a hand, the cartoon character depicted buying Winston cigarettes.

But times have changed for this dangerous and deadly habit.  Most recently, graphic public service announcements from the government highlight the after-effects of patients suffering the consequences of their addiction.

In 1966, the Beach Boys released their hit album, TV said goodbye to Dick Van Dyke and Mr. Ed, and the world greeted Star Trek.

It's also the year Ginnie Graham picked up her first cigarette.

"I had just graduated, and at the time, my boyfriend was smoking.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Once you try it, you get hooked," Ginnie recalls.  

Decades later, she was up to two packs a day.

"I tried in 1984 to quit smoking.  I did. I succeeded for two weeks.  My three children came back to me and begged me to stop smoking.  I was not nice," she said.  

So Ginnie went back.  She'd again want to quit for her health and the cost.

She was finally successful in 2001 when she signed up for hypnosis.

"I am a non-smoker. I am strong. I am capable and courageous. I am happy. I am peaceful," said Rena Greenberg, a certified hypnotherapist, in session with Ginnie.

"I think (her) persistence is very inspirational for all of us," Greenberg said.   

She led Graham through one session that would turn out to have a big impact.

"It helps rewrite the script in the subconscious so you don't want to smoke anymore.  You no longer associate it with pleasure," she said.

"It was easy," Graham said.

When the thought came into her head to reach for a cigarette, the hypnosis blocked the response.        

Graham is smoke-free 13 years later. She said the results were instant.

Her smoking is nothing more than a memory, as she looks forward to a healthier future.

While hypnosis helps some, studies have not supported its effectiveness, according to the American Cancer Society. 

Cognitive behavior therapy may also be an alternative for those who don't want the hypnosis, according to experts at the Moffitt Cancer Center. 

While many are trying e-cigarettes as a way to kick the habit, there are still no long term studies on safety or effectiveness. 

One study did show a small benefit over patches, but more research needs to be done.  Researchers in Europe at a recent conference believe e-cigarettes could save lives. 

However, others want tighter regulation to ensure that the ingredients in the liquid stay safe, citing the issue that many tobacco manufacturers are buying into e-cigarettes companies.

Another potential treatment is under study.  This one uses TMS - or transracial magnetic stimulation.   Addiction centers of the brain are targeted.  One small study showed there may be a benefit, but more needs to be done.

The University of South Florida uses TMS treatment to treat depression.  It's also been used in eating disorders.

Your doctor can help you find other treatments like pills, patches, gum or lozenges.

TobaccoFree Florida has a quit line offering free patches while quantities last. They also have a program to help regulate weight in the process.

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