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Farewell, my lovely fags - or is it au revoir?

Features | August Issue

Penny Mortimer smoked for 55 years until a hypnotist came along

On 12th July 2017 I had not smoked a cigarette for one whole year.  A year earlier, two months before I turned 70, I visited a hypnotist in Swiss Cottage, London. She talked to me for three hours; it wasn’t any of the stuff one associates with hypnotism – the counting up and down or the clicking of fingers. She droned on a bit and then I left, having been told to crumble my remaining cigarettes and throw them in the bin. I started smoking when I was 14. I had joined the local badminton club, and a girl of 16, named Beth, took me into the back room and taught me how to do it ‘properly’. It wasn’t pleasurable but I thought it was what would nowadays be called ‘cool’.   My mother then smoked about ten cigarettes every evening, and I would pinch a couple from her packet...

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