One by one, smokers at the Gorayeb Seminar anxiously filed out of the meeting room to puff their final cigarette.To finish their last pack, Alyssa Rambo and her husband, Justin, each smoked two cigarettes."Every smoker knows how bad smoking is for them," said Justin. "We don't even like smoking."The Rambos and their friend, Travis Bourgeois, smoke one to two packs of cigarettes a day, and each paid $50 to attend a two-hour hypnosis seminar hosted by Gorayeb Seminars at the Ramada.The Gorayeb Seminar incorporates hypnosis and dietary information to help smokers quit smoking."We want to achieve the mindset of a permanent, life-long nonsmoker," said Mark Pasnak, hypnotherapist.According to the Gorayeb Web site, suggestions planted during hypnosis convince smokers they no longer need cigarettes.For more than an hour, Pasnak talked about physical addiction to nicotine and supplements that could help curb side effects such as weight gain, irritability and coughing.During the final half hour of the seminar, Pasnak dimmed the lights and asked smokers to close their eyes and relax while he recited hypnotic phrases.When the room was quiet and everyone appeared to be relaxed, Pasnak asked smokers to think of instances, such as lunch breaks, where they tended to smoke.Smokers had to draw a mental "X" through the situation, to create a negative association with smoking. Pasnak also had smokers visualize sticking their head into a full ashtray and then licking the ash tray.The negative associations with smoking during hypnosis are to train smoker's subconscious to abhor the habit, according to the Gorayeb Web site."Whatever you believe will have some effect on your psyche," said Joel Brence, a local psychiatrist. "It's pretty hard to heal with hypnosis because all the stress hormones released in humans aren't conducive to healing."In other words, it's hard to retrain the way someone's mind works."There hasn't been any conclusive research done on how effective hypnosis is on smokers," said Jill Thiare, media coordinator for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "The most common way to quit is by using resources like Quitline and Quitnet and using nicotine replacement therapies."Colorado Quitline is a toll-free counseling services available to smokers.Travis and Justin went to the seminar because they've been unsuccessful in previous attempts to quit."I'm trying to quit because I don't want to still be smoking when I'm 30," said Alyssa, 24. "I want to have kids in a few years. This will help me be more healthy and have more money in my pocket."Justin and Alyssa spend about $300 a month on cigarettes. Each day they don't smoke, they will put the $10 they would have spent on cigarettes in the bank. If they're still nonsmokers by June 2005, they will take their smoking money and go to Mexico."I've been trying to quit for the last two years," Justin said. "Every time I get on a kick, she's not ready. That's hard."Justin's mother, who went to a Gorayeb seminar and stopped smoking for seven years, recommended the smoking seminar to Justin and Alyssa. "So far the seminar's been informative and a good sales pitch," Justin said. "I guess that if the guy wasn't trying to sell something, he wouldn't do it." Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext. email@example.comColorado Smoking Facts30 percent of all cancer deaths are related to smokingEach Colorado household pays $511 a year in state and federal taxes to pay for smoking related costs20 percent of Coloradans (640,000) smoke cigarettes85 percent consider quitting53 percent attempt quitting3 percent successfully quitSource: Colorado Department of Public Health and EnvironmentColorado Quitline 800-639-QUIT
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