On the basis of the transtheoretical model of change, we hypothesized that hypnosis would facilitate significantly greater movement through the stages of change toward smoking cessation in contrast to psychoeducation. Thirty participants were pretested for hypnotizability using the Elkins Hypnotizability Scale (EHS). Participants’ readiness for change was assessed using the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment scale (URICA). The EHS relaxation induction was used to induce hypnosis. Hypnotic suggestions addressed motivation and ambivalence. The URICA was administered following the intervention and at a 10-day follow-up. Two-factor split-plot ANOVAs showed significant changes within groups on the contemplation subscale (p = .002), action subscale (p = .00007), and the number of cigarettes smoked per day (p = .003).
Smoking cessation remains a major health priority. Despite public campaigns against smoking and widespread availability of smoking-cessation treatments, many people continue to smoke. The authors argue that the “problem of motivation,” that is, suboptimal or fluctuating motivation to resist smoking urges and to comply with the demands of treatment, commonly undermines treatment seeking and adherence, appreciably reducing the success rates of smoking-cessation programs. The authors describe the history of the Winning Edge smoking-cessation program and discuss ways to enhance motivation before, during, and after formal treatment. They illustrate how hypnotic suggestions, administered in the context of their program, can promote cognitive, behavioral, and emotional commitment to treatment and enhance motivation to live a smoke-free life.