How Smokers Support Slavery

75% of commercially grown tobacco is now sourced in the third world. A canny move by the Tobacco Barons since it provides incredibly cheap labour and a distinct lack of the annoying bureaucracy that tends to look after things like Health & Safety. One third of tobacco is grown in China. Zimbabwe, Turkey, India & Brazil are also major producers though some tobacco is still grown in the US and Europe.

With tobacco cultivation there’s all the normal stuff that you get with any crop, ploughing, sowing, weeding… but growing tobacco from this point on takes on a slightly sinister appearance compared with most other crops.

Just as tobacco is a health hazard to those who smoke it, it is also a health hazard to those who grow the stuff. The most common problem experienced by tobacco farmers and their children is acute nicotine poisoning – otherwise known as Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS). Doesn’t Green Tobacco Sickness sound so much nicer than acute nicotine poisoning? GTS is an occupational hazard for tobacco growers and its symptoms are nausea, vomiting, headache, muscle weakness, and dizziness. This is because of the nicotine absorbed through the skin from the contact that field workers have with tobacco leaves – in much the same way as it is absorbed from the nicotine patches smokers use when they are trying to quit. And these field workers don’t have much choice about contact because tobacco plants need a lot of physical intervention – like the removal of side shoots and flowers – in order to force the leaves to reach the required sizes. The nicotine transfer from leaf to bloodstream is much more rapid when the leaves are wet.

Statistics on the prevalence of GTS are unreliable simply because most doctors – even in tobacco farming areas – do not recognise the symptoms for what they are. The only other area of agriculture where the crop itself is a serious biohazard is in the cultivation of illicit substances like coca and opium.

One researcher wrung the sweat from the shirts of tobacco field workers and found it contained almost 0.1mg of nicotine per millilitre. Rain or dew on the leaves of tobacco plants has been measured with a concentration of up to 9mg nicotine per 100mL of dew. The average field worker is exposed, through contact with moisture on the leaves, to 72mg of nicotine – about the same as a 40 a day smoker. So if you want the nicotine without the tar and additives go and get a job as a tobacco worker and get paid for giving up smoking. For the production of flue cured tobacco, leaves are harvested individually by hand – thus maximising contact with the toxin in the leaves.

Nicotine tolerance builds over long periods of exposure. Children don’t have this and tobacco farming makes use of large quantities of child labour so children are at much higher risk of developing GTS.

Be aware also that tobacco is one of the agricultural products most commonly farmed with child labour (Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) or forced labour (Malawi & Kazakhstan). On the cigarette manufacturing side of the process, forced and child labour is used in India where (according to WHO) 325,000 children work rolling tobacco and about half of those are bonded labourers (effectively slavery).

As an example 50,000 bonded labourers are engaged in cigarette production in Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh. Only 5,000 of these are registered (and, therefore, protected by labour laws) the rest receive the equivalent of 50cents (US) per 1000 cigarettes they make. Employers make deductions from this at their own discretion. Among these employees a 9 year old boy and a 10 year old girl were found bound by iron chains because of their repeated escape attempts.

In Malawi children as young as three are being employed to produce tobacco. Here the going rate is $1.28 (US) for a day’s work for a family of four sorting tobacco leaves. One day, by the way, is dawn to dusk. A family of seven (in bonded labour) earn $29 a year as tobacco farmers. Here tobacco farms send recruiters to villagers for child labourers. The children report having food withheld and being beaten. Pay is promised to the parents at the end of the season.

Malawi obtains 65% of its foreign income from tobacco (probably the only country in the world economically dependent on tobacco – I have heard it said that the tobacco companies would like you to believe they are the saviours of the Third World, and without tobacco many countries would become bankrupt). Malawi’s produce is purchased by British American Tobacco  (Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall) Imperial Tobacco (Lambert & Butler, John Player Special, Sonoma, USA Gold and Gauloise), and Philip Morris (Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Benson & Hedges, Chesterfield & Merit). Interestingly British American Tobacco founded the Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing Foundation.

Forced labour in Malawi takes place under the guise of tenant farming where an agreement is made with the landlord. The tenant is promised a share in the profit when the crop is sold. The tenant has to purchase seed, and anything else that is needed, from the landlord, but has no control over the sale of the crop and usually the landlord arranges things so there is no profit. Consequently the tenant sinks deeper and deeper into debt – often forcing young children into the fields because family is the only free labour available.

A life of slavery is the only possible outcome.

Ultimately the smoker is responsible.

Purchasing tobacco is in effect condoning every aspect of tobacco production.

So if you smoke, think about children being chained; children being poisoned; and families spending their entire lives getting deeper and deeper into debt.

Think about it every time you hand over your hard-earned cash for your next pack of twenty.

…and if you need a little help giving up then check out my book Change Your Life with Self Hypnosis, or my download page.




You Don’t Have To Gain Weight When You Quit Smoking

A recent study, based on 62 other pieces of research, found evidence that one of the fears of smokers is true. The fear is that of gaining weight when they quit smoking. The average weight gain was around 10lbs after 12 months of abstinence from smoking.

But that’s just the averages. The initial gain was about 2lbs a month slowly dropping to the 10lbs at twelve months. But there was actually huge variation within the study. Some smokers lost weight. About 1 in 4 gained under 2lbs over the twelve month study period, and 1 in 5 had lost weight at the end of the twelve months.

Worth noting is that people who sign up for clinical trials are not necessarily representative – they may not be an ‘average’ smoker, and so the findings of clinical trials like these may not relate well to real life.

“Quitting smoking at age 40 increases life expectancy by nine years, even taking into account the possible post-cessation weight gain.”

Henri-Jean Aubin, professor of psychiatry

Methods of quitting included in the trial were: nicotine replacement therapy, bupropion (Zyban, Wellbutrin, Voxra, Budeprion, Aplenzin), varenicline (Chantix, Champix), and exercise. As usual, hypnotherapy was not one of the tested stop-smoking therapies. Hypnotherapy tends not to get tested because there’s no money in it for the Pharmaceutical companies who make $ millons by convincing smokers that giving up is really difficult and they need help. The truth is that the vast majority of smokers who successfully stop smoking do so without any help and without any drugs.

The next most effective method is hypnosis.

Bupropion was originally tested and marketed as an anti-depressant, but it wasn’t very good so they’re now passing it off as if it were the bee’s knees in smoking cessation drugs.

Varenicline has had suicidal ideation and occasional suicidal behavior, erratic behavior, and drowsiness reported as side-effects. The manufacturer, Pfizer, have added “some patients have reported changes in behavior, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions” to the drug’s safety information.

The majority of clients, coming to see me for help to stop smoking, do not express any concerns about putting on weight. But after reading this research it could well be that the smokers who are concerned about weight gain do not seek help to quit.

Still, in my quit smoking treatment, I talk about weight gain and how it isn’t going to happen. In the hypnosis I reinforce this and weight gain just doesn’t seem to be a problem with clients that I help to stop smoking.



The Study:

Stop Smoking

Stop Smoking – You Can Do It If Only You Believe You Can

The only problem with quitting smoking is that the smoker simply does not want to quit. Even though they may be suffering from breathlessness, cardio-vascular problems, threats of amputation, lungs filling up with fluid, cancers of a whole host of organs… they do not want to stop smoking. They don’t want the ill-health either. They want to smoke and be healthy.

Now if smoking a cigarette killed you within 24 hours, there wouldn’t be many takers, the tobacco industry would never have got off the ground, and Sir Walter Raleigh would have died before he got the chance to lose his head. If smoking killed you within a week, then the connection would have taken a little longer to make but you’d probably have to grow your own tobacco because no one else would be doing it.

Because it takes tobacco anything from twenty to fifty years to do the job; and because death isn’t instantaneous, and instead is long, slow, and painful; then smokers pretend ‘it won’t happen to me’ and the Tobacco Barons are laughing all the way to the bank.

So the real problem is that smokers pretend that smoking is good for them, ignore all evidence to the contrary, and believe that smoking is a pleasurable activity without which life wouldn’t be worth living anyway.

Beliefs are powerful. Even if they have no connection with reality. If you believe something then that thing is TRUE for you. It might not be true for anyone else, but it’s true for you. Smokers believe they are addicted. This is a myth propagated by those who have a vested interest in selling tobacco products: like cigarettes, and nicotine gums and patches. Smokers believe that smoking makes them feel good and that nothing else can do that.

If you have a belief that says ‘life isn’t worth living without this thing‘ then you have a belief that allows the thing to kill you.

The solution is to solve the real problem. Instead of giving up cigarettes, give up the belief that they are needed in order to make life worthwhile. Beliefs are not easy to give up, or change. The more important they are, the more resistant they are. If you have a belief that says I always need to have ten dollars in my pocket in order to feel safe and you put your hand in your pocket and pull out a twenty dollar bill, then you will feel okay. But if you put your hand in your pocket and find it contains only five dollars then you will feel some anxiety.

Change the belief to five dollars makes me feel safe, put your hand in your pocket and pull out five dollars and you feel okay. The important thing here is that nothing has changed in the physical world. All that has changed is your belief. Changing your belief can reduce anxiety levels.

So imagine a belief like ‘Cigarettes keep me safe, I must always have a packet with me’. Imagine having that belief and finding yourself without cigarettes!

Now imagine having a belief ‘cigarettes contain many poisons, I don’t want one near me’. Imagine having that belief and finding a packet of cigarettes in your pocket or bag.

The easiest way to change a belief without having to battle against the conscious resistance that says ‘but this is true, that’s why I believe it’ is to use hypnosis. Hypnosis causes shifts at the subconscious level and it feels almost as if you have just changed your mind about smoking

Michael Hadfield D. Hyp., MBSCH

self-help Stop Smoking

Is Nicotine Really Addictive?

Nicotine is a substance that is important to the economy of the planet. Yet it is a substance that even most of its users know very little about. For many years nicotine and smoking were pretty much the same thing, but now you can get nicotine on its own in the form of gums, patches, and inhalers. This is a substance that has high toxicity and is lethal in small doses – so why is it able to provide significant revenue for an industry, and for those governments that place high duty on the purchase of cigarettes. The reason is that nicotine is believed to be highly addictive. But it is believed to be highly addictive by only some experts, while other experts are convinced it is nothing of the sort.

There is a world of difference between being addicted, in the clinical sense, to something and to really liking it or liking how it makes you feel. Sex isn’t addictive, yet most people like it, enjoy it, and engage in it over a period of many decades. Those same people, if it isn’t available, may find themselves wishing for a suitable partner and thinking about it a lot. That’s not an addiction. That’s a desire. But as soon as you get engrossed in something that captivates your attention and interest, then thoughts of sex disappear.

I see a lot of smokers who come to me for help in stopping smoking. Around half of them believe they are addicted to nicotine; around a quarter believe it is part addiction part habit; and the rest see it as purely a habit. The interesting thing is that there is no correlation between the number of cigarettes a smoker smokes per day and their beliefs about it being a habit or an addiction.

No one doubts that heroine is an addictive substance. There is also no doubt that some heroine addicts commit crimes to fund their habit. Now it may be that cigarettes are so readily available, and smokers organise their smokes so carefully that a smoker never runs out of cigarettes – but still it’s difficult to imagine a normally law-abiding smoker who has run out of cigarettes breaking into the local tobacconist to pick up a packet of twenty because they’ll be insane with craving by morning if they don’t get a cigarette RIGHT NOW.

That must surely cast a shadow of doubt on the addictiveness of tobacco smoking.

One of the factors of significance in addiction is habituation. Habituation is what happens when the body gets used to, or tolerates, a drug that is taken on a regular basis. It means that the same dose, over time, gives less and less effect. So one of the characteristics of addiction is that the dose slowly increases. Those of you who have taken drugs like valium (diazepam), or other benzodiazepenes, will be familiar with this effect. The first few days of taking them put your world back to normal, but by the time you visit the doctor a week later you are suffering again and so he ups the dose. Then a month or two later the dose is increased again or the drug changed to one with a stronger effect.

Cigarette smokers have invariably smoked the same number of cigarettes per day for ten, twenty, thirty, forty years or more.

That alone must surely cast a shadow of doubt on the addictiveness of tobacco smoking.

When there’s a myth that’s so pervasive within the culture that it has become a Belief, I look to see who benefits. Clearly in my own country (the UK) four powerful groups benefit: the tobacco industry, the government, the pharmaceutical industry, and the National Health Service.

· the tobacco industry makes enormous profits for itself.

· the Government raises Revenue from every tobacco product sold.

· the Pharmaceutical Industry sells nicotine delivery systems and ‘anti-smoking’ drugs.

· the National Health Service attracts massive funding to treat smoking-related disease.

Just to give an idea of the huge size of the smoking ‘pie’; in 2004 Gallaher, third largest UK tobacco company, paid Duty of £5,500,000,000 and claimed a pre-tax profit of £429,000,000.

In the same year, Imperial Tobacco, the largest UK tobacco company paid £8,000,000,000 Duty, and claimed a pre-tax profit of £688,000,000.

In comparison to that the treatment of smoking related disease means the National Health Service can attract £1,500,000,000 per year from the Government – a drop in the ocean compared to the duty that tobacco sales raise. So from the Government’s point of view it makes more economic sense to keep smokers smoking and simply invest a small portion of the Revenue that they pour into Government coffers to pay for medical professionals to look after them when they get sick.

Could this have anything to do with the reason that when smoker’s seek medical help to quit smoking, they are offered nicotine replacement therapy, or Zyban (actually an anti-depressant)? These treatments don’t have a very good track record, but they do keep the Pharmaceutical Industry happy.

Now I’m not suggesting conspiracy here. Just economics. We all know, just like when governments decide that wars are to be fought and individual lives and suffering become meaningless, that with economics money is all that matters, people don’t (except when we need your vote). Just like wars, the economics of smoking is filled with propaganda.

If somebody tells you something enough times, then you may begin to believe it.

The main propaganda that is promoted in relation to smoking is that nicotine is physiologically addictive.

I have treated plenty of 20 a day smokers who happily sit on a 10-12 hour transatlantic flight, enjoying the book, movie, view, conversation… and only ‘crave’ a cigarette the minute they get off the plane and into an area where smoking is allowed. I have never met a smoker who gets up in the middle of the night for a cigarette. Even after they get up they shower, enjoy breakfast, and it isn’t until they sit down to enjoy the mug of tea or coffee that they light up – at last! Yet they can be lighting up at the rate of one an hour throughout the day.

This isn’t addiction – it’s a habit.

Hypnosis could well be the very best treatment to break a habit, because a habit is purely a mind thing.

Hypnosis makes it very easy to just change your mind.

You will agree that tobacco is big business. The Tobacco Barons, the Pharmacy Kings, and the Men from the Ministry are not going to allow Billions to slip through their fingers. If smokers believe that they are addicted to something that isn’t an addictive substance, then the only people who are going to suffer are the smokers. Misinformation means Revenue. Setting the record straight is only of benefit to smokers. Setting the record straight is detrimental to vested interests. So you have a choice if you smoke. You can choose to use hypnosis break the habit and then spend your hard-earned cash on something enjoyable.
Michael Hadfield  D.Hyp., MBSCH