The Bizarre Lengths Ellen DeGeneres Went To To Stop Smoking

Non-smokers might not understand the massive hurdle quitting smoking presents. The rhetoric within medical literature is the same: smoking is bad for your health, and it impacts one's quality of life. So, why do people keep smoking? Dr. Neil Benowitz of the University of California, San Francisco told the health outlet Heart that cigarettes can actually be harder to quit than anything else. "From a scientific standpoint, nicotine is just as hard, or harder, to quit than heroin ... but people don't recognize that," he explained.

To make matters worse, the experience of going without a cigarette can be gruesomely uncomfortable. "Every drug of abuse, including nicotine, releases dopamine, which makes it pleasurable to use," Benowitz said. "And when you stop smoking, you have a deficiency of dopamine release, which causes a state of dysphoria: you feel anxious or depressed."

This nicotine dependency hits celebrities just as much as anyone else. There's a shockingly long list of celebs who smoke in real life and many have opened up about the grueling process of quitting. Chelsea Handler said she had to get hypnotized to finally quit. Others, like Leonardo DiCaprio, have taken to more modern methods of nicotine consumption like vaping, though the verdict is still out whether or not vaping is, in fact, any healthier for a person. While this might be a surprise, Ellen DeGeneres is another famous face who's struggled with a nicotine addiction and she stopped at nothing to finally quit.

Ellen DeGeneres got hypnotized to quit smoking

Ellen DeGeneres worked with British hypnotist Paul McKenna, famous for such life improvement goals as losing weight, quitting smoking, tackling insomnia, and other self-betterment objectives, per his website. Back in 2006, DeGeneres brought McKenna on her show to share with her audience how she tackled her desire to quit, via hypnosis. "This is something I've been struggling with since I was a teenager: smoking," DeGeneres confessed. She admitted that she felt embarrassed to admit this to the public.

DeGeneres shared the hypnosis session that she had with McKenna, who told her that the goal of their hypnosis session was to reprogram her brain. McKenna had DeGeneres think of four moments in her life when she really wanted to quit. DeGeneres thought of chest pain, her mother, the feeling of nicotine as poison and another incident where she experienced severe chest pain, as her motivation. McKenna had DeGeneres close her eyes and overlap these memories. The experience was a really emotional one for DeGeneres, who started crying during the session.

McKenna then had DeGeneres think of a food she found disgusting. The host said that she hated black licorice, so the hypnotist had DeGeneres visualize taking a big bite of licorice and then taking a drag of a cigarette. Then he guided DeGeneres through a meditation, where they counted backwards from 300. "You're a non-smoker," McKenna said, while DeGeneres closed her eyes. "You've quit smoking." At the end, DeGeneres admitted that she didn't want a cigarette.

Ellen DeGeneres talked Colin Farrell into quitting

While hypnosis might have helped Ellen DeGeneres quit smoking, the comedian later shared another video from her show, where she admitted that she stopped smoking thanks to a book called "Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking." By the time she shared the news, DeGeneres had stopped smoking two months prior. "I'm announcing it because I'm proud of it because it's so hard to do," she said of quitting smoking. DeGeneres added that it was the hardest thing in the world to finally quit smoking.

When DeGeneres welcomed Irish actor Colin Farrell to her show years later, they were talking about the famous Allen Carr program to quit smoking. Farrell joked that he was watching a DVD from the program and stopped the DVD because he could see that the program would work on him and he wasn't ready to quit yet. "There's a book too," DeGeneres said, listing her own success story. "'How to Stop Smoking the Easy Way,' which is a really great book and you read the book and you stop." When Farrell joked that the easy way didn't sound that interesting, DeGeneres said, "Anyway, stop. It's bad for you." When DeGeneres said that she didn't smell any smoke on Farrell when he arrived, he joked that he ate a ton of Altoids before coming out. So, it looks like DeGeneres is encouraging others to stop since she was able to do it.