Hypnosis in the Treatment of the Smoking Habit

  • Louis Jolyon West


The use of hypnosis to bring about significant changes in behavior was well developed in clinical practice by the end of the 19th century and up to World War I. Many so-called bad habits, including alcoholism, drug addiction, as well as a variety of undesirable (to the subject) sexual practices, were reported by Bramwell1 in 1903 to have been cured with hypnotic suggestion. We are indebted to Gravitz2 for recently bringing to light the publication in 1847 of a discussion by Morley about the use of hypnosis in treating nicotine habituation by Robbins in Massachusetts. Robbins used hypnotic suggestions of an aversive nature to control a female patient’s appetite for certain foods that exacerbated her dyspepsia, and also for tea, coffee, and nicotine-containing snuff. The treatment was successful, and Robbins subsequently employed a similar strategy to rid a medical student of “an inveterate attachment to tobacco in its various shapes.”


Smoking Cessation Smoking Behavior Abstinence Rate Smoking Cessation Program Hypnotic Suggestion 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1991

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  • Louis Jolyon West

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