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Paul McKenna’s Guide to Hypnotherapy to Quit Smoking

Paul McKenna, hypnotist, behavioral scientist, and trainer of Mindvalley's Everyday Bliss Quest

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Summary: Desperate to kick the nicotine habit? Discover a new lease on life with hypnotist and behavioral scientist Paul McKenna’s hypnosis to quit smoking.

Every smoker knows the drill. It starts with “just one puff.” 

Before they realize it, it’s another one. And another one. And another one until they’ve realized they’ve gone through a whole pack.

The warning signs on the box and all the statistics point to one thing: Marlboro Man wasn’t as cool as they made him out to be. The terrible truth is, breaking free from the grip is no easy task. 

But here’s the thing: have you considered trying hypnosis to quit smoking?

Sure, it may sound “woo-woo,” but there’s actual science that backs it up. Through the power of suggestion (and, let’s be honest, the power of relaxation), hypnosis can help break that bad habit.

Intriguing, right? 

So what about the gum, the patch, or going cold turkey? You may have tried it all without any significant change. But there could be one solution that was, as Goldilocks says, just right—and hypnosis is its name.

Does Hypnosis Work to Quit Smoking?

Hypnotherapy works by getting you into hypnosis—a deeply relaxed unconscious state where you’re more open to suggestions. What this means, in terms of quitting the self-sabotaging habit, is that you can use it to change your perception of smoking.

The thing about the unconscious (or what some people know as the subconscious) mind is that it drives our habits, as Paul McKenna, a hypnotist and behavioral scientist, explains in a webinar for the Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapist program. But using hypnosis, “you can reprogram the unconscious mind.”

This approach can be positively effective for smoking cessation. And there are scientific studies that show that this form of therapy works to help reduce the urge to smoke, if not break the habit altogether.

A 2014 study, for instance, concluded that hypnotherapy is “more effective than [nicotine replacement treatment] in improving smoking abstinence in patients hospitalized for a smoking-related illness.”

Another study from 2004 found that after a three-session hypnosis treatment, “81% of those patients reported that they had stopped smoking, and 48% reported abstinence at 12 months posttreatment.”

So can hypnosis help to quit smoking? Certainly. 

But a more important question to ask is what caused the person to start smoking in the first place? And it’s that subconscious blocker that hypnosis really identifies.

AI-generated image of a woman smoking a cigarette

How Does Hypnosis to Quit Smoking Look and Feel Like?

In any typical hypnosis session, the hypnotherapist will help you relax and enter a trance-like state. They’ll then use positive affirmations and suggestions to help you see smoking in a less appealing light.

You’ll still have awareness, and you’ll still be able to hear everything I say,” says Paul McKenna, a globally-renowned hypnotist, behavioral scientist, and trainer of the Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapist program. “But there will be changes, like daydreaming. Just let the sounds wash over you.”

The experience can be different for everyone. Some may feel the effectiveness of hypnosis immediately, while others, within a few sessions.

Hypnosis to quit smoking reviews

Take Mindvalley member George Papadakis, for example. This airport worker from Greece used to smoke a pack a day; it’s been over a decade since his last puff, all using Paul’s techniques. 

After a few weeks of practice,” he writes in the Mindvalley Stories, “I felt that I didn’t need to smoke anymore. In fact, just looking [at] someone smoking, e.g., in a movie, was enough to make [me] feel like choking!

He’s not the only one. Sandy Pomales from Raleigh, North Carolina, also found that Paul’s guidance was a major help with his horrid habit.

Before the program, I was at a crossroads in my life, transitioning from a graphic designer into the field of personal development,” he explains. “I was quite shy, timid, and not fully confident in who I was as a person. I also had a small(ish) smoking habit. Because of the course, first off, I do not smoke anymore!

George and Sandy’s stories aren’t isolated cases. There are plenty of people who have successfully ditched the sticks with hypnotherapy techniques.

However, just like any other smoking cessation program, it’s important to go in with an open mind and a real desire to quit. Only then can hypnosis truly work its magic.

Benefits & Risks of Using Hypnosis, According to Science

There are pros and cons to everything, even hypnosis. So here’s a closer look at both:


Because hypnosis is a natural approach, it’s an attractive option for those looking to quit without using medication or nicotine replacement therapy. But what other benefits are there, scientifically? Here’s a highlight of three:

  • It can lead to long-term abstinence. One study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that 52% achieved abstinence one week after intervention. What’s more, 23% of the participants remained smoke-free after two years.
  • It can improve overall well-being. It’s no secret that there are plenty of health benefits that come from quitting smoking, from improved cardiovascular health to a lower risk of cancer. Hypnosis also promotes relaxation and stress management, which can further enhance overall well-being.

However, as with any treatment, there are potential risks to be aware of.


Although hypnosis is considered a safe treatment, there are a few potential risks and misconceptions:

  • Unqualified practitioner. The effectiveness of hypnosis heavily relies on the skill of the practitioner. A poorly trained one can lead to ineffective treatment or even increase the stress and anxiety associated with quitting smoking.
  • Unrealistic expectations. Hypnosis works differently for different people. Some may find success after a few sessions, while others may require more. Setting unrealistic expectations may lead to disappointment.
  • Potential for false memories. Though extremely rare, some individuals report false memories after hypnosis. However, in the hands of a certified professional like Paul, this risk is significantly reduced.

While hypnosis offers a promising approach to quitting smoking, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what to expect. Moreover, this method isn’t a quick fix; it requires your commitment and effort. 

Self-Hypnosis to Quit Smoking

If you’re reluctant to or don’t have the means to have sessions with a hypnotherapist, you can consider self-hypnosis to quit smoking. It’s essentially the same principle, but instead of having a one-on-one, you go on this journey with some guidance.

Here are some options to consider:

1. With guided meditation

Guided meditations provide a great starting point for those interested in using hypnosis as a tool for quitting smoking. And the great thing about living in this era is that you can find resources online—free and accessible anytime, anywhere.

There are plenty of options out there, but Paul McKenna has a great one, specifically to kick the smoking habit.

Watch it on YouTube: 

Paul Mckenna Official | Quit Smoking Today

2. Learn through a hypnosis program

If you’re looking for a more structured approach, consider investing in a comprehensive program like Paul’s Everyday Bliss Quest on Mindvalley. This course offers a deeper dive into the power of hypnosis and provides step-by-step guidance on how to use it effectively, even for smoking cessation. 

You’ll not only gain insights into your habits, but you’ll also learn the necessary tools for overcoming addictions like smoking.

3. Get certified

If you want to go even further, you might consider becoming a certified hypnotherapist through the Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapist program. With Paul McKenna as your trainer, not only will you master the techniques to quit smoking for yourself, but you’ll also be equipped to help others. 

This program will provide you with in-depth training on hypnosis and its practical applications. What’s more, becoming certified could be your path to transforming not just your life, but the lives of others struggling with similar issues.

Remember: self-hypnosis is not a standalone treatment. It should be used in conjunction with other smoking cessation strategies. Additionally, learning self-hypnosis from a certified hypnotherapist, like Paul, can ensure you’re practicing it safely and effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

The topic of hypnosis can seem mysterious or unclear to many. They might not understand how it works, or they could have worries about its safety or effectiveness.

So here are a few frequently asked questions to help you better understand if hypnosis is a good choice for you.

How much does hypnosis cost to quit smoking?

The cost of a hypnotherapy session can change depending on where you live and who you see. Normally, you may pay around $75 to $125 for a session that lasts about one to one and a half hours, according to the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists.

When it comes to stopping smoking, some hypnotherapists offer special packages that might cost $300 to $400. These also include all the sessions you need to ensure you have the right follow-up care.

What is better to help quit smoking: acupuncture or hypnosis?

Both acupuncture and hypnosis have been shown to be effective in helping people quit smoking. The choice between the two often comes down to personal preference. 

Some prefer the holistic approach of acupuncture. Others, on the other hand, prefer the mind-body connection emphasized in hypnosis. 

So it’s recommended to explore both options and choose the one that aligns with your beliefs and comfort level.

Who can perform smoking cessation hypnosis?

A certified hypnotherapist, preferably with experience in smoking cessation, should perform hypnosis. 

Just make sure the one you choose to do your sessions with is certified by a recognized body. This can include the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis, and even Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapy.

Is there an age limit for smoking cessation hypnosis?

There’s no specific age limit for hypnosis, be it for weight loss, anxiety, or smoking. Although it’s generally recommended for adults, children, too, can benefit from this method.

In fact, BBC News reported a study demonstrating that hypnotherapy significantly reduced feelings of anxiety and helplessness in children and teenagers. This research showed that the impact of hypnotherapy surpassed that of traditional relaxation techniques.

And this is true, too, when it comes to quitting smoking. However, keep in mind that if a minor is seeking hypnosis for this particular ailment, it’s important that they do so under the supervision of a guardian and with a certified hypnotherapist.

AI-generated image of hand holding a lit cigarette

Kicking Butts

Hypnosis can absolutely be a powerful tool in your quit-smoking toolkit. It’s natural. It’s drug-free. And it targets both the physical and psychological aspects of this habit.

However, hypnosis isn’t a magic pill. It requires you to have an open mind and a genuine desire to quit smoking. 

If you want to further explore how hypnosis can help you in all aspects of your life, including living a smoke-free one, join the Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapist webinar—absolutely FREE. With Paul McKenna as your guide, you can…

  • Learn why hypnotherapy is good at making big, long-lasting changes.
  • Find out how to become a really good hypnotherapist quickly, even if you’re just starting out.
  • For coaches or teachers, learn how to add hypnotherapy to your skills to help your clients more.

As Paul says, “If you don’t take responsibility for programming yourself, then someone else will.”

So ciggies down, Marlboro Man, and spirits up. Then, let the power of hypnosis guide you toward a healthier, happier you.

Images generated on Midjourney except the one of the Mindvalley trainer.

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Written by

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. She brings a wealth of experience in writing and storytelling to her work, honed through her background in journalism. Drawing on her years in spa and wellness and having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Picture of Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. She brings a wealth of experience in writing and storytelling to her work, honed through her background in journalism. Drawing on her years in spa and wellness and having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Paul McKenna
Expertise by

Paul McKenna, Ph.D., is the trainer for Mindvalley’s Everyday Bliss and Total Self-Confidence Quests, as well as the Mindvalley Certified Hypnotherapist program. Having helped millions of people successfully quit smoking, lose weight, overcome insomnia, eliminate stress, and increase self-confidence., Dr. McKenna was named by The London Times as one of the world’s leading and most important modern gurus, alongside Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. He has also worked his unique brand of personal transformation with Hollywood movie stars, Olympic gold medalists, rock stars, leading business achievers, and royalty.

How we reviewed this article
Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.


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Fact-Checking: Our Process

Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.