John R. Polito served in the U.S. Navy Submarine Service from 1973 to 1982 and made 7 FBM submarine cold war patrols aboard the USS Von Steuben, SSBN 632 (Gold), where he was awarded four individual citations.
In 1978 he attended Naval Instructor Training in Virginia where he graduated with honors and was assigned to FBM Poseidon and Trident missile systems officer and enlisted instructor duty. Aside from his teaching assignments, he piloted two new 26 week Trident missile training courses and was awarded the designation of United States Navy Master Training Specialist.
He earned his undergradate degree from the University of the State of New York in 1982 and his juris doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1985, where he graduated Wig & Robe. In 1988-89 he taught as an adjunct professor at the Baptist College, now known as Charleston Southern University.
A thirty-year smoker, he had engaged in roughly a dozen serious quitting attempts and failed at each. In May 1999, his nicotine intake was approximately 60 mg per day (three packs), a level he'd sustained for the previous five years. His health was rapidly decaying with a 24-hour audible wheeze on every breath, chronic bronchitis, early emphysema, recurrent pneumonia, deterriorating vision and a half dozen root canals.
After one last failed attempt in early 1999, John fully surrendered to the fact that he was a real drug addict in every sense, and that he would die an addict's death. Surprisingly, it was then that he found he no longer needed the long list of lies he'd invented to explain why he'd smoke that next cigarette. It was then that he became free to look around without fear.
And then it happened. For some still unknown reason, on May 13, 1999, John typed "quit smoking" into an Internet search engine and stumbled upon an entire world of online support and cessation information resources. Two days later, on May 15, 1999, with the help of online peer support, he reclaimed his life.
On July 15, 1999, John founded WhyQuit.com, initially a quit smoking motivational site directed at both teens and entrenched smokers. He hoped that stories of young tobacco victims would help dispel the myth that tobacco only harms old smokers. Soon, e-mail quitting questions started arriving and John found himself digging for science-based answers.
Today, fourteen years later, WhyQuit is the world's #1 nicotine cessation destination with 2.2 million annual visitors. That's 2.5 times as many unique annual visitors as the total number of 2012 calls to the nation's 1-800-QUIT-NOW telephone quitline (880,887).
On September 8, 1999, John co-founded "Freedom," an education oriented messageboard quit smoking support forum. Today, Freedom remains the Net's most serious and focused knowledge-based nicotine cessation group. While John continues to serve as director, the group's daily focus and guidance is under the expert care of John's mentor since January 2000, Joel Spitzer.
The Baby Ruth of American smoking cessation, Joel Spitzer has worked full-time in the field of smoking cessation since 1972. Amazingly, now retired from presenting live group programs, Joel devoted 5,120 days of his life to presenting six-session 13-day live clinics or single session seminars.
In April 2001, John commenced presenting "Freedom from Nicotine" a free six-session cessation program spanning two weeks, which closely mirrored the format and content of Joel Spitzer's highly successful Chicago based clinic program. He also started presenting single-session seminars and speaking on nicotine dependency and recovery whenever possible.
He presented bi-monthly free seminars at the College of Charleston from 2003 until 2006. During 2007-2008 he was hired by the state of South Carolina and presented 63 nicotine cessation seminars inside 28 state prisons.
On January 1, 2009, John released a free PDF book entitled "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home." Since January 2012, he has been active as director and in providing daily oversight at Turkeyville, what quickly became Facebook's #1 quit smoking support group.
John sees the nicotine battle-fronts as being three-fold and remains engaged in each area as much as time allows:
(1) Attempting to awaken all dependent upon nicotine to the fact that they have a permanent brain wanting disorder and that motivation, education, understanding, new skills and support can greatly enhance their odds of arresting their dependency and staying free for the remainder of their life;
(2) Challenging the pharmaceutical industry, government health officials and President Obama to be honest about how most long-term ex-smokers succeed in quitting -- cold turkey -- and the extremely dismal odds of long-term success when toying with replacement nicotine. As in this 2008 Canadian Medical Journal article, John is spreading awareness that placebo-controlled quitting product studies have been a sham, in that it is impossible to blind nicotine addicts with significant quitting histories as to presence or absence of full-blown withdrawal. As in this 2012 British Medical Journal article, he's alerting health officials and smokers to the fact that toying with replacement nicotine is costing lives; and
(3) Youth dependency prevention programs that teach youth the truth about how shockingly captivating nicotine is, while countering false and deceptive industry advertising proclaiming that smokers smoke for every reason except the truth - because they must, because a rising tide of anxieties begin to hurt when they don't.
John R. Polito
106 Aldrich Place
Goose Creek, SC 29445