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How Easy is it to Stop Smoking?

August 28, 2010

Most of us have experimented with smoking when we were young. Many of the ones who began by experimenting have continued smoking. In our society, everyone knows at least one smoker. In fact, we probably know many people who have started and are still smoking. We probably know just as many people who have made attempts to quit smoking. But how many of us know people who have succeeded in stopping?

In my experience, I probably know of 1 in every 10 smokers who have stopped. But then again, I don’t know very many heavy smokers (at least a pack a day). I was a smoker myself although not a very heavy smoker. But like any smoker, I experimented with my first cigarette at a very young age. Ofcourse being young and naïve, I never thought about the consequences. Before I knew it, I was hooked! I’m sure this is the experience of most smokers. I’m sure 100% of us said we would never be “hooked”, and if we were, it would be so easy to kick the habit. The ironic thing is that as soon as a smoker realizes that they are dependent on cigarettes, they want to stop. And when they attempt to stop, they usually do not succeed. But why is it so difficult to stop?

It’s actually interesting when smokers are asked why they cannot stop smoking. Most of them can only respond by saying it’s because they are addicted to it or they will go into withdrawal. They do not know the deeper reasons for why they cannot stop smoking and because of this, stopping can be extremely difficult. This is why, I believe, there is a low percentage of success with cessation drugs (5% – 20% success rates). Most people do not uncover the root of their nicotine habit. Plus, cessation drugs are most helpful with one’s physical dependence on nicotine. But most smokers will agree, it is much more of a psychological dependence than a physical one.

For the past several years, there has been buzz about a book to stop smoking. Everyone who has read it claims this book to be the bible for smokers who want to quit. I had already stopped smoking but was interested to see what this book was all about. Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking is a thin yet powerfully informative book that boldly claims that by reading this book, a smoker can automatically stop smoking and abstain from smoking permanently!

I already know that most people who have not yet read the book will have a preconception of what it entails, and it’s not what anyone thinks. I can’t tell you what the book is about in detail, because that will just spoil it for the reader. What I can say is that the book is exactly how it looks. By looking at the cover (the BIG BOLD letters, especially the word “STOP”), one can tell that the author of this book, Allen Carr, is completely confident that anyone who reads this book will stop smoking. The thickness of the book (or rather the thinness) gives you an idea of its content … completely non-intimidating. Just like the cover, the information is clear, concise and simple yet powerful and transformative.

Over the years, many people have told me that this book helped them stop smoking. Inspired by this, I decided to buy several of these books and distribute them to my smoker friends. I asked them to return the book to me within a month. One month, I thought, was plenty of time for them to read this thin book. I was so certain that they would be on their way to their last cigarette within the one month’s time. Then came my astonishing findings. Each person that I gave the book to, did not finish the book within the month nor two months for that matter. Many of the people I gave this book to, read up until at least half the book, but stopped completely when they got to the latter chapters. This finding amazed me. Because as much as my friends told me that they didn’t have the time to finish, I knew the real reason…they procrastinated.

What I discovered is that they didn’t procrastinate because they were lazy but because they were afraid. They feared that by finishing the book, they would actually stop smoking. The thought of actually having to stop smoking for most smokers is terrifying. Partly because they are afraid of what they may become if they did stop, e.g., moodiness, weight-gain, loss of control. This may sound ridiculous to non-smokers, but it is true.

What is also terrifying is that if they do not quit after reading the book, then they feel that they have failed. And this brutal reality, knowing (thinking) that they will always be a failure when trying to stop, was just too hard to bear. I found this so fascinating! I even assured people that they only needed to read the book so they can understand why they smoke but they could not stop thinking about the possibility that they may have to quit after finishing the book.

This finding was absolutely amazing to me…how the fear of having to quit smoking was so immense that they actually avoided reading the book. I don’t want to disclose too much of the book, but what Allen Carr believed is that it is not the cessation of smoking that smokers fear, it is the lack of control that they think they will have if they stop. Honestly, I did not expect this to happen. I figured that the people who really wanted to stop would be enthusiastic about reading and finishing the book. Instead, the majority of the people who had the book did not finish reading the book. Of the ones who did, nobody stopped smoking.

I was curious as to what Allen Carr’s team would say about this situation, so I took the liberty to contact them. I asked Nicole from Allen Carr’s Easy Way two questions I found most interesting.

Me: I have given several Allen Carr’s books to friends, only to find out that most of them were either “too busy” to read the book, or they stopped reading three quarters into the book. I realize that they have that fear that’s described in the book but is there any way to encourage them to continue?

Nicole: In our experience, attend our seminars or finish reading the book only when they’re ready. The frustration that many have is that it is only after the event – after they’ve successfully quit easily – that they realize that deep down they had been ready for years. If they had known that quitting would be easy, they would have done it ages ago.

You refer to the fear preventing people from doing this and you’re absolutely right. Another irony is that the fear is caused by smoking. Non-smokers don’t have any fears of not smoking. As soon as people realize that it is the cigarette that creates the fear, they’re halfway there…

Me: If someone reads the book but does not stop smoking, what are some of the reasons why?

Nicole: Not everyone is successful with the book because different people have different learning styles. Most people learn best in a classroom-style setting – where they hear and see the information with other smokers – which is why our seminars are by far the most effective mode of treatment.

For those of you who have not read the book, please don’t be discouraged. I still believe that this book is transformative, and that every smoker should read it. This book will work, as long as most people are in the correct frame of mind. In this, I mean that they are open to this book and can really absorb what Allen Carr is saying. Most crucially, they must be committed to finish reading the book.

Another factor that is so important (I could probably write a whole blog on this issue) to overcome smoking, or any addiction for that matter, is how you see yourself. Or should I say, how you feel about yourself. I don’t know why we have evolved to be this way, but for some reason, it is such a faux pas to feel good about yourself. Directly or indirectly, we are taught that we are not good enough. Or that we shouldn’t praise ourselves or put ourselves first. Eventually, most people learned to put themselves last. And we started to over-indulge. Then, overindulgence became substance abuse. It can be cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, food, sex. Somehow, our “selves” are not worth staying healthy for. We just don’t love what we have about ourselves. It is this self-loathing that leads us to substance abuse. Most of us are not aware of this, and probably would even disagree. But the truth is, if we truly loved ourselves, wouldn’t we take better care of our health and well being? If your loved one or child has a form of substance abuse, would you do what you could to help them? I mean, how did it end up that we would protect our loved ones, but not protect ourselves?

I don’t usually see someone with high self-worth/regard. Heck, I can’t even say I do about myself. And I’m sure many of you will tell me that you have high self-worth. But don’t tell me that if you are over-eating, smoking, excessively drinking, using drugs, or abusing any type of substance, or even doing something that you wouldn’t want your child to do. I don’t care how successful you are in your life. If you do anything to jeopardize your well-being, then there is at least a small part of you that is saying that you are not worth it.

Now back to my point of this blog…by the book! For those of you who prefer an alternative, please visit or call toll-free 1.866.666.4299 to inquire about seminars that you can attend. I urge you smokers to try either one. Do it for you. Do it because you want to be healthier for the rest of your life.








“I finally realized that being greateful to my body was key to giving more love to myself” – Oprah Winfrey

  1. Awesome blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid
    option? There are so many options out there that I’m
    totally confused .. Any suggestions? Thank you!

    • hi thanks. wordpress is a great place to start. super straightforward.
      i’m guessing you want to blog more for promotional reasons, then i would say write what you think readers will like tohear. i try to write from the heart, bc i’m not promoting anything. also, if you’re selling something then get your own domain name but still go with wordpress.

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