I arrived fifteen minutes early for my first EasyStop quit smoking appointment. I parked outside the suburban house in Hove and then had a total panic. I had had neither breakfast nor lunch and I was very hungry. I feared that my hunger would distract me from my hypnosis, ruin my 90-minute therapy session, cost me £250.00 and prevent me from ever stopping smoking. I drove off at great speed to look for a corner shop but came across the Burger King Drive Thru’ on Old Shoreham Way instead. Seven minutes and a spicy beanburger later, I was ready to change my life. The therapist and the session were impressive. In the view of Easystop, smoking is something that we have programmed ourselves to do. According to them, our self-conscious mind is not judgmental and has been trained to do a negative activity. Our conscious mind has tricked itself into justifying it, and our bodies have adapted to tolerate the hundreds of puffs of poison being put in every day.
The de-programming is threefold: physical, behavioural and psychological, and involves behaviour modification, two hypnosis sessions, a new diet and the odd bit of aversion therapy.
Whatever part of my mind that in the past convinced me that smoking was cool, glamorous and rebellious will be diminished so that I will only believe in the views of doctors and the government. All sounds fine, but I am only worried because the junk food incident is intrinsic in my memory of the therapy. I hope that my daily trip to the tobacconist’s won’t be replaced by one to the Golden Arches.

Smoking’s a mug’s game. Fast food, on the other hand...