Prince Albert residents trying to quit smoking will soon have the chance to try a more unorthodox approach.
© Submitted photo
Professional hypnotist Vance Romane will lead a Stop Smoking Seminar at the Quality Hotel on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.
Professional hypnotist Vance Romane has spent decades teaching seminars that aim to use the power of the subconscious to help smokers kick the habit.
“It’s a very complete seminar,” Romane said. “I’ve worked very hard in putting this together, because people’s lives are on the line.”
The hypnotist’s upcoming Stop Smoking Seminar in P.A. will take place at the Quality Hotel on Sunday, Sept. 29. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. with the seminar scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
Romane’s love affair with hypnosis first began more than 50 years ago, when as a youth he read an article on the subject in Popular Science.
Fascinated by the potential of hypnosis to enrich people’s lives, he first tried hypnotizing his brother and friends. By age 15, he was already performing hypnosis shows that included segments on quitting smoking.
After earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Manitoba, he first started performing hypnosis seminars in the 1960s.
“I started out as a serious hypnotist in the ’60s, and I couldn’t make a living at it,” he recalled.
“People wanted to see the shows, and I enjoyed the shows. Watching them at the time, I thought they were entertaining and they made people forget their problems.”
It was only in the early 1980s that Romane began to concentrate on helping people stop smoking through hypnosis.
Multiple factors influenced the transition. In part, the shift was due to surging market demand for using hypnosis to help people lose weight (which Romane also teaches) and quit smoking.
At the same time, people began to approach the hypnotist after shows, asking him, “Why are you making all these people do all these silly things when you could be helping them?”
But Romane’s own personal experience may have played the biggest role.
“My father had leukoplakia pre-cancer in the ’60s, where it was due to smoking,” he said.
“It was a white line on his lip. They cut that part of the lip off and he’s OK today. He’s 85. But that got me interested in it as well.”
He began to consider the idea that he could actually save lives through hypnosis, noting the effect that deaths caused by smoking could have on children in families with one breadwinner or a single parent.
“My (previous) goal with the hypnotism and the shows was to give people laughter,” he said. “I always wanted to make people happy and escape and so on, and then afterwards, I got married about 1981 and I had children and I just got more serious with the hypnotism.
“I don’t resonate much with the show business anymore in terms of doing it. I resonate more with the helping people.”
A typical Stop Smoking Seminar begins with information on a multiple-method approach to quitting smoking without using hypnosis, based on a 1991 Surgeon General study of 700 anti-smoking programs that recommended such an approach.
I’ve worked very hard in putting this together, because people’s lives are on the line. Vance Romane
“Many methods are necessary because we’re all different,” Romane said. “So we start off with the non-hypnosis methods, which alone are powerful enough to stop smoking.”
Afterwards, Romane explains how hypnotism works and trains the audience how to go into a state of trance by hypnotizing them.
Following a break at the 90-minute mark, audience members return for a second, longer hypnosis session, in which Romane gives them more than 100 hypnotic instructions aiming to help turn each into a “calm, relaxed, peace-of-mind non-smoker.”
Many instructions seek to highlight the many benefits of becoming a non-smoker.
“We tell the subconscious that yes, this was a good habit, you had it for many years and it’s served its purpose and it did well, but you know it’s destroying your body.”
At the same time, the instructions aim to prepare smokers for all the eventualities that might compel them to light up another cigarette.
“This is just a sample,” Romane said. “But we go through all the different scenarios of no longer needing one when they’re driving, no longer needing one after a meal, no longer needing one when they’re upset and so on.”
He noted that the most common reason former smokers return to their habit is stress, whether caused by a death in the family, loss of a job, end of a relationship, etc.
Others include cockiness (“I can just have one”) and drinking alcohol, which causes ex-smokers to be less aware of their actions.
Though Romane has not taken any formal polls of audience members, he said anywhere between 20 per cent and 80 per cent typically raise their hands when he asks if any of them know someone who has quit smoking because of the seminar.
He stressed the importance of following recommended guidelines for success.
“It depends largely on what they do after the seminar,” he said.
“Some people will come to the seminar (and) say, ‘I’m not reading your literature on helping me stop smoking, I won’t drink more water to clear nicotine out of my system, I won’t play any recordings, I won’t do any deep breathing you suggest’ -- and of course, they’re more likely to go back because they just want to stop smoking.”
“It’s a partnership,” he added. “Any therapy or counseling, people have to work together.”
Romane encouraged those with questions or concerns about hypnosis to visit his website at www.vanceromane.com for a more in-depth explanation of how it works.
Tickets to the Stop Smoking Seminar cost $82.95 in advance or $115 at the door. Discounted advance tickets are available at the Medi-Cross Pharmasave.