Feb 2013

Feb 2013
Diploma awards

Tuesday 6 July 2010

Should pregnant women be subjected to testing to see if they smoke?

As a clinical hypnotherapist who has helped smokers over many years I am not certain that testing pregnant women will achieve at a practical level. Smokers become non-smokers as part of what we call “readiness for change”. A strong desire must been in place for hypnotherapeutic techniques or any other for that matter to work.

The desire factor to be a non-smoker is all-important without that then a smoker will invariably stay a smoker or start again.
Many factors make up “readiness for change”, such as health, cost of smoking, concerns regarding the example given to children, or pregnancy.
Once a person has decided to become a non-smoker then that is where a hypnotherapist comes in. I use the term non-smoker, as just stopping smoking is not enough.

Testing pregnant women to see if they are still smoking and encouraging them to stop is well meaning but in my opinion somewhat misguided.
It is far better to educate and encourage rather than subject to tests.
A good example is the UK smoking ban. Many smokers continued out of sheer defiance or at work smoked “underground”. In my experience it had little impact on those wanting to be a non-smoker. At best it might have been part of the stop smoking equation.

Stress and anxiety are the biggest reasons why people smoke or go back to smoking. More attention should be directed to this area. I would rather see initiatives based around teaching pregnant women how to relax as an alternative to smoking.
For some people a few smokes a day may be the only chance they have to relax.
To conclude education is a far more effective tool than subjecting pregnant women to tests.
(Article published in the Oxford Mail Monday the 12th of July)

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