Stop Smoking Hypnosis: Does It Really Work? What You Should Know


by Jeffrey Buckley

Updated: January 20, 2022

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Hypnosis to quit smoking is a method that involves people undergoing hypnotherapy to help them strengthen not to smoke. Far from being the form of entertainment, most people associate with hypnotism. Hypnotherapy is a psychological treatment that can help with many physical and mental issues. Stop smoking hypnosis is not a recognized or proven form of smoking cessation. Therefore, experts caution relying solely on hypnotherapy for smoking cessation. It can, however, be used along with other scientifically proven methods like nicotine replacement therapies or other forms of counseling.

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis is a state of mind that smokers can enter when guided or “hypnotized” by a hypnotist. The therapist pulls them into this state via suggestions or other methods. A state of hypnosis is often marked by:

  • A lack of awareness of the real world
  • A focus on interior thoughts/feelings
  • Increased susceptibility to suggestion

There are many who view hypnosis as legitimate science, while others regard it as a form of entertainment. Regardless, it has become a somewhat popular method for smoking cessation, recalling buried memories, uncovering insights about their past, and increasing their willpower.

Hypnosis in this form is referred to as hypnotherapy. Many people claim to be hypnotherapists. They offer their services to help clients with an array of different problems, including quitting smoking. But, again, hypnotherapy is not a proven method to help with smoking cessation. However, there are a few risks associated with it.

What Does Hypnotherapy Look Like?

Like talk therapy with a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist, a hypnotherapist talks with clients before putting them into a hypnotic state to explore their reasons for smoking and why they want to quit. Depending on the hypnotherapist, a typical session can last from 30 minutes to an hour.

Hypnotherapists’ methods vary between practitioners, so they may not all be the same. Once in a hypnotic state, clients can be prompted to focus on the goals they want to achieve by quitting smoking, like improving their health and spending more time with their family. People’s reasons not to smoke can also vary. So a hypnotherapist will tailor a session to those specific goals and help them become a central part of their client’s smoking cessation plan.

A hypnotherapist may also introduce the suggestion into a person’s mind that smoking is dangerous and harmful to their health. The smoker will be repulsed by the idea of smoking and stay away from cigarettes. Altogether because of the association of cigarettes with health harm and different disease.

Benefits to Smoking Hypnosis

There are conflicting studies on whether stop smoking hypnosis is effective. Some studies have found that hypnosis can help smokers with smoking cessation in specific settings, like when they are hospitalized with a smoking-related illness. While others show that hypnotherapy has no discernible effect on the success of a person’s quit smoking attempt.

But regardless, there is an agreement that the practice does no harm and could be a helpful treatment. Especially it is a great tool when used with other smoking cessation strategies. Some of the benefits can include:

  • Helping smokers control their urges to smoke
  • Helping people devise strategies to enforce their willpower
  • Helping people focus on their reasons for quitting (family, work, health)

Many of these strategies can be achieved without hypnosis. Instead, smokers can do it through licensed counseling or behavioral therapy. But for those who are curious to try whether hypnosis can work for them, it remains an option if they use it with other quit smoking methods.

Are There Risks?

There are little to no risks to hypnotherapy to quit smoking. The practice does not involve taking any unrecognized medications or other supplements. Users are also not subject to any kind of physical or psychological danger. The only potential downside to hypnotherapy is that it might not work.

The ineffectiveness of hypnotherapy can also cost the user time and money. This wasted time and money could have been used for other, more effective methods to quit smoking. It is tools like medication or nicotine replacement therapy. However, as anyone who has tried to quit smoking knows, even those methods can prove ineffective.

Stop Smoking Hypnosis Apps

Along with in-person sessions, a hypnotherapist may suggest clients use other materials to help them when they are not in session. These other materials may include:

  • Videos and audio clips
  • Downloadable apps
  • Strategies to self-hypnotize

When used in these ways, hypnosis is more akin to meditation and relaxation techniques than being under another person’s control. Like with meditation, there are several free stop smoking hypnosis apps. The users can easily download it to their smartphones. These apps can help users learn ways to employ the methods they learned from their therapist. Or it can give them brand-new strategies.

Several popular stop smoking hypnosis apps include:

  • Quit Smoking NOW!
  • Quit Smoking Hypnosis
  • Quit Smoking – Smokerstop

These apps use various methods to help people maintain their quit plan and guide them through the process of quitting. These apps can provide audio recordings to prompt people into a meditative state. They can also teach smokers how to self-hypnotize whenever they feel overwhelmed by their urge to start smoking again.

Can You Self-Hypnotize?


It is possible to self-hypnotize. It is similar to someone meditating or practicing breathing techniques to relax. A person can develop their cues (visual and auditory) to help lull them into a hypnotic state. So they reinforce the methods they learned from their hypnotherapist. A person may need to self-hypnotize when they cannot reach their therapist or need extra support during a stressful situation.

What You Should Know Before Trying Stop Smoking Hypnosis

The first thing you should know about stop smoking hypnosis is that it may not work. There is little to no evidence that it works and many experts recommend trying other, more proven methods to quit smoking. With that said, it remains an option to try if someone has tried other methods and not found any success.

If you are curious about trying it, you should consult your doctor. Maybe they have any recommendations or resources to supply you with. In addition, several professional hypnosis associations act as databases for people to search to find a hypnotherapist in their area. The cost of hypnotherapy varies between practitioners. And their rates can go up or down between $50-100 per session.

Hypnotherapists are not licensed, physicians or medical practitioners. But you can ask what qualifications they have before committing to therapy. You can ask for references and browse their website and the comments section to see if other clients have been happy with their services or not. Before beginning therapy, you may want to discuss your goals with the therapist. So you can see if they have a good bedside manner or are more motivated by money and financial gain.


What is the success rate of hypnosis for quitting smoking?

There is no success rate for hypnosis to quit smoking. Hypnosis is not that different from counseling or behavioral therapy. It helps people not to smoke nicotine. However, those programs are not always effective when used alone without any supporting treatment like medication or nicotine replacement therapy. The effectiveness of this type of treatment is unknown. So users should be aware of this before trying it.

What is the most successful method to quit smoking?

There is no sure-fire way to quit smoking that works for everyone. Quitting smoking is a difficult, complicated process. It can take several attempts to be ultimately successful. There are evidence-based treatments like quit smoking medication and nicotine replacement therapy that healthcare professionals promote, but they may not always work for certain patients. People should try various treatment methods and combine several strategies (NRT, therapy, counseling). It will help to have the best chance to quit smoking.

How many hypnosis sessions are needed to quit smoking?

There are no set amount of hypnosis sessions that are recommended to quit smoking successfully. A hypnotherapist may suggest a specific amount after meeting with a patient. But they could also be prolonging the process to reap the financial benefit. Therefore, you should decide how many sessions you need based on your progress during therapy.


Hypnosis is not the most effective way to quit. But it can be used along with other evidence-based methods to improve a person’s chances of quitting. In addition, there are little to no risks involved in trying hypnotherapy. However, patients should be on the lookout for scams and unscrupulous therapists who want to exploit them for financial gain.

Published: July 23, 2017Updated: January 20, 2022

Jeffrey Buckley

I was a smoker for over 25 years. In this time I also earned my medical degree with a specialization in addiction treatment and counseling. That period has led me to vaping, my interest started around 2011. I’m fighting the tide of hysteria and dis-information around vaping that emanates from various fronts legislative, cultural and scientific. Having scientific councils support, I’m happy to contribute my thoughts, articles, and expertise.


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0 comments on “Stop Smoking Hypnosis: Does It Really Work? What You Should Know

  • Gitanjali Saxena

    November 19, 2019 at 6:37 am

    It is a great detailed explanation of hypnotherapy to quit smoking. Thanks!

  • Cindy

    August 15, 2019 at 2:26 am

    I think your message was wonderful! @ Craig I’m glad you complimented Jeff sort of there but Maybe your message could have been delivered with more kindness. The ones reading this are not looking for an expert research composition just informative facts.

  • Craig

    July 31, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Though it is nice to see that the author is giving a “green light” to the use of hypnosis to quit smoking, it is obvious that he has never actually participated in or spoken to a hypnotherapist or a client of a stop smoking hypnotherapy session. His description of the “hypnotherapy process” is from a very long time ago (pre-1980) and is not at all a representation of modern hypnotherapy.

    Nearly every stop smoking hypnotherapist that is actually good will tell you that one or two sessions is all that is required. Though cravings are rare, there may be a very short lived period of craving (usually on day 2). But, when armed with a pattern interrupt technique, clients can handle those in seconds without issue.

    The statement that it is a “relatively new method to way to stop smoking” shows that his “research” is lacking any real effort. Of every method currently available (other than ‘cold-turkey’), hypnosis is the among the OLDEST and most effective (he did mention it was effective).

    Recommending the patch also shows his research is lacking any depth. Nicotine leaves your system in 72 hours, so using NRT is like pulling a bandage off slowly and just prolongs your detoxification from it.

    Most independent studies (i.e. not paid for by pharmaceutical companies) show that nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is less than 8% effective for getting people to quit for longer than 12 months, where as hypnotherapy is greater than 80% successful.

    The author is correct about several things, which I am glad he reported.
    1) Hypnosis does not have side effects.
    2) Can work in a single session
    3) Studies have shown that it is actually one of the most successful ways to stop smoking
    4) It doesn’t work for everyone – This is because if you truly don’t want to give them up, no amount of hypnosis will keep you a non-smoker for long. I actually turn clients away until they have a strong enough ‘Why’.

    Thanks for your article. It just needed some clarifications.