The time Momma quit smoking.

Years ago my brother and two of my sisters went to a hypnotist because they thought they wanted to quit smoking.  It was one of those seminars where the hypnotist addressed the entire audience and then sold tapes to reinforce what he taught the would-be, hoping-to-be, future nonsmokers. (Some racket, eh?) They decided they could buy one set of tapes, then take them to Mom’s house.  That way they could go visit their aging mother and listen to encouraging words on tape all at the same time.  Great plan.  A sort of “kill two birds with one stone” proposition.  Taking care of Momma and easing off their addiction to nicotine.  I always thought the whole scenario was funny.  For one thing, Mom smoked like a smokestack.  Weren’t they going to see and smell her smoking and want to smoke themselves?  And the cheapskates–why didn’t they buy their own tapes?!  I guess I would say that they didn’t seem particularly committed to the project.  But what do I know?  I’ve never smoked.

Well, my siblings swore at first that the hypnotic tapes slowed their smoking down a bit.  I think they were fooling themselves.  They wouldn’t smoke while the tape was playing but they wanted to, especially my youngest sister.  I don’t really know, but if I were a betting woman, I would bet that all three of them lit up before they even got out of sight.

I was visiting with Mom after a week or so of the no-smoking pretense when she said to me, “You know, Pat, I have hardly smoked at all the past few days.  I don’t know why, but I really haven’t much wanted a cigarette.”  I laughed and told her it sounded as if the tapes were working for her, that she’d been hypnotized.  I laugh gleefully now as I remember the unsettled look on her face as she said, “Well, they can just play their tapes somewhere else.”

I spent many years, starting when I was three or four years old, begging my mom to stop smoking.  I so wanted to be near her and I hated smoke.  I still do.  When we took her from the hospital to the rehab/nursing facility, she wasn’t allowed to smoke.  I remember driving up to the mountains to visit her one day and she informed me with a big smile on her face that she had quit smoking.  I exclaimed how proud I was of her.  God, how I miss my feisty, sweet momma.


15 thoughts on “The time Momma quit smoking.

  1. I knew someone who smoked and was hypnotized. For many weeks, he just had no interest in smoking. He only restarted because the girls in his barber shop all smoke and he eventually joined them.

    I assume that listening to a tape is NOT hypnosis and presumably way less effective.

    I’ve also seen first-hand hypnosis and how powerful it can be on the mind. Scary but true.


  2. I can still remember my mom’s Lucky Strikes. She later switched to something long and filtered. I don’t remember what they were. I get my caffeine from coffee; you get yours from Coke. Maybe we’ll both quit one day. Or maybe not. 🙂


  3. My mom smoked Salem Cigarettes. I can still see the swirls leaving the end of the cigarette and traveling up my So glad I never started smoking. Now, if I can just kick my Coca-Cola addiction, I would be a happy


  4. My mom smoked briefly, a fact my sisters and I took as a horrible given. My brother, OTOH, kept destroying the cigarettes before throwing them out, and pleading with her to stop. I thought he was crazy then, but I get it–and try to emulate it–now. Also . . . hugs to you.


  5. Thanks, Tish. That’s a perfect description of the picture (I love free clipart!). Little did they know indeed. I remember asking my mom when I was very young, “Momma, WHY do you smoke?” Out of the mouths of babes, as they say. Needless to say she didn’t have a satisfactory answer to my question.

    I like “classiness.” If it isn’t a word, it should be.


  6. I always love your stories about your Momma and this one was priceless, but I loved the picture more. It truly captures the lure of assumed “classiness” (don’t know if that’s a word or not) and sensuality of smoking. It suggests all the beautiful people who made smoking the thing to do in the 40s and 50s. Little did they know!


  7. My first experience of meditation was at a huge seminar. It wasn’t hypnosis or anything like that just teaching people the power of meditation. Anyhow I did what they were telling me to do, breathed, forced my body to relax and then before I knew it I had fallen off my chair and was lying on the floor. Hysterical – oh the power of meditation. I still use it to this day – except I do it in bed before I float off to sleep. 😉 Well done your Mum for giving up. She certainly sounds like a lovely feisty lady.


    • Oh my! What a sight. Hope someone helped you up. Need I say you were a very good subject for learning to meditate. I hope the instructor shouted, “She’s got it! By George, I think she’s got it!” LOL


  8. Dare I comment!? Not that I smoke but the hypnosis downloads I’m listening to these days certainly do something – if nothing else ‘send me to sleep’;!

    Lovely story!!


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