The Paradox of Women and Stop-Smoking Hypnosis

The paradox of women & stop smoking hypnosis in London UKIf women are more hypnotizable, why do men find it easier to use hypnosis to stop smoking?

Everyone is different, so when people come to my London clinic for hypnosis to stop smoking, I always conduct a detailed exploration of their habit. As well as things like when the client first started smoking and their current triggers to smoking, I need to ask them a few extra questions, depending on whether the client is male or female. Why do I do this? Let me explain.

Although women are generally more hypnotizable than men (Pyun & Kim, 2008) and should thus respond better to hypnotherapy, paradoxically, women tend to respond slightly less well to hypnotherapy to help them stop smoking (Green et al, 2008).

The two most likely explanations for the difference between men and women in smoking cessation are:

1/ Men are less likely than women to have concerns about weight gain due to stopping smoking. Women who think that smoking will keep them slim are disincentivized to stop smoking with hypnosis, or any other method. This is the explanation given by the authors of the 2008 meta-analysis on this subject (Green et al).

2/ The second explanation is that women find it harder to stop smoking when they have a partner who is also a smoker. This was the explanation I was taught by one of the best hypnotherapists in London on my Certificate in Clinical Hypnosis course at the London College of Clinical Hypnosis. Why would women be more affected by their partner’s smoking than men? I don’t think anyone knows the answer for certain, though it could be that if a woman feels demoralized by an unsupportive partner, they might compensate by smoking and perhaps engaging in other unhealthy health behaviours.

Research by myself and others has found that there are several other interesting ways in which men and women respond differently to therapy. I will discuss these various differences in future blogs.


Green, J. P., Lynn, S. J., & Montgomery, G. H. (2008). Gender-related differences in hypnosis-based treatments for smoking: a follow-up meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 50 (3), 259-271.

Pyun, Y D., & Kim, Y. J. (2008). Norms for the Korean version of the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis. 57(1), 117-126.

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