How to give up smoking

Hypnotist Paul McKenna has entranced millions with his stage shows. His clients include Robbie Williams, the Duchess of York and Geri Halliwell.

He has, he says, helped boxer Nigel Benn punch harder, rugby union international Dan Luger run faster and golfer Nick Faldo putt more accurately. But now Paul, 38, is back with a new crusade – to help smokers give up cigarettes for good.

Here, he tells Daily Mail reporter Adam Lee-Potter why.

School days were the last time I touched a cigarette, having a quick puff behind the bike sheds. Happily, I never took to it. But I know how easy it is to start and I know how tough it is to stop once you’re hooked.

People still think it’s cool to smoke. Some even claim it helps you lose weight. That’s nonsense. There are so many myths about smoking created and propagated by the tobacco industry.

It’s not cool – it’s more likely to make you look stupid and smell bad. And you definitely do not automatically put on weight when you quit.

I want to help people who need a bit of extra assistance. Hypnosis is that helping hand.

Yet another reason smoking is bad – cigarette butts are filled with microplastics that are killing the oceans

If you needed YET another reason never to start smoking, this could be it: as well as the damage the chemicals in a cigarette do to your body, it turns out the butts, or cigarette filters are pretty awful for the environment.

The filters, made of tightly packed plastic fibres, start to erode into smaller and smaller plastic bits, joining a cascade of microplastic pollution that’s bedevilling the world’s oceans and the living things they support.

Microplastics may be small, but their impact is far from it.

“Viruses aren’t big, either,” said Robert Hale, who studies microplastic pollution at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). “So the idea of something small being not a problem is actually completely 180 degrees from reality.”

Plastic bags, balloons and water bottles pose one threat when they’re ingested by sea turtles, fish and waterbirds that mistake them for food.

But microplastics – or, more accurately, micro shards – get gobbled up by the tiniest creatures that form the base of the marine food web. Some pieces are so tiny that they can pass through cell membranes.

Those micro shards climb the food chain, compounding the damage and the dangers along the way.

5 ways to live a life with less plastic

Why Do Teens Start Smoking? Bad Brain Development, Study Finds.

Tobacco use among teens have fallen in the last couple years, but rates remain buoyed by the popularity of e-cigarettes. According to the CDC, roughly 1 in 4 high school students have reported using a tobacco product in the last 30 days.

Still, smoking is a fixture for teen culture. We’ve known for a while that part of this has simply to do with the fact that younger brains aren’t fully developed—and the parts of the brain that are designed to control impulse and assess risks properly just have not matured. More recently, we’re learning which specific parts of the brain seem to be undercooked during adolescence—which may, in fact, open up the key to reversing some of these trends and reducing teen smoking rates across the world.

In a new study published in Nature Communications on Tuesday, British and Chinese researchers found that gray matter volume in the brain is linked to a desire to smoke during adolescence. In fact, it also seems to affect exactly how strong nicotine addiction feels.

“Smoking is perhaps the most common addictive behavior in the world, and a leading cause of adult mortality,” Trevor Robbins, a psychologist at the University of Cambridge and a co-author of the new study, said in a press release. “The initiation of a smoking habit is most likely to occur during adolescence. Any way of detecting an increased chance of this, so we can target interventions, could help save millions of lives.”

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