Blacklisted by the U.S. government, the ebook "Never Take Another Puff" continues to experience record Internet downloads. For nearly a decade, pharmaceutical industry influence has had health officials turning their backs on the more than 80% of smokers who annually trust their natural instincts and attempt to stop smoking cold turkey. Through his book, Chicago smoking cessation counselor Joel Spitzer attempts to fill a vast education void, and allow cold turkey quitters to experience why knowledge isn't just power, but a quitting method.
Having surpassed one million downloads in August 2007, Never Take Another Puff registered 2,033,147 by October 2, 2009.
Spitzer's free ebook helped propel WhyQuit, the site hosting it, to a #2 ranking among more than 5 million U.S. Google "quit smoking" search results, ahead of the Centers for Disease Control, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society.
Still, the depth of pharmaceutical industry influence in suppressing its only real competitor, cold turkey quitting, is beyond comprehension. While both "Never Take Another Puff" and "Joel Spitzer" are mentioned on more than 5,000 web pages, not one of those pages is on any government website.
President Obama promised that under his administration science not profits would drive health decision making. It's widely believed that the President is now in his third year of chemical dependence upon Nicorette. Although America's health clearly has the President's focus, there is as yet no evidence that the President has linked our nation's leading cause of death to underlying addiction to nicotine, and industry campaigns teaching smokers that nicotine is "medicine" and its use "therapy."
Clearly America's most accomplished smoking cessation counselor, since 1976 Spitzer has presented over 1,000 live quitting programs, including more than 350 twelve-hour clinics spanning two weeks.
Spitzer's Internet arrival in January 2000 altered cessation history. Today his articles and lessons are openly shared at all major online quit smoking peer support websites including Freedom from Nicotine, QuitSmokingSupport.com, QuitSmoking.com, BecomeAnEx.org and Freedom from Smoking.
"I am still in awe of the fact that I am reaching more people now in a month or two than I probably reached in my first 20 or 30 years," says Spitzer.
The latest "thank you" e-mail arrived seconds ago.
"I don't want to take much of your time, I just want to say thank you," wrote Lisa. "Thank you for the site, thank you for the insights. I would have never quit if not for Joel and all the information you so generously share for free. Once I let go of the notion that NRT was going to help, I was empowered and able to do it. For the first time in 20 years I am nicotine-free for three months, now, and the rest of my life from here. I am forever indebted. Thanks again from myself and my family. Sincerely, Lisa Panger"
Spitzer has also recorded and makes available 200+ video quitting lessons, more than 100 original articles and thousands of support group message board lessons at Freedom and AskJoel.
"My gut always told me that no publisher would bother with a book that is given away for free," states Spitzer. "I really wanted the information to reach the most people possible."
"I feel about this mark the way that I felt about the one million downloads. It's given me a sense of accomplishment that all of the work I did those early years and throughout the following decades was worth everything I put into it."
Clearly, someone is lying. If pharmaceutical industry marketing is believed, quitting cold turkey is nearly impossible, with few succeeding. But if quitting method surveys are believed then 80 to 90% of all successful long-term ex-smokers will again this year be cold turkey quitters.
"Thank you Joel for opening my eyes," writes Phil Meyer, 39 of Berlin, Germany, who quit 9 months ago. "No words can express how grateful I am." "After trying to quit for about 20 years, using all approaches under the sun -- so I had thought -- I finally came across 'Never Take Another Puff,' downloaded it, read it and never took another puff!"
"Joel's ebook is the only thing that made it possible for me to quit smoking," writes Katy of Philadelphia. "After 31 years of nicotine addiction, and numerous failed attempts to quit with the nicotine patch, gum, inhaler, hypnosis, acupuncture, Chantix, Zyban, and "cutting down", I quit cold turkey a little over 2 months ago. Two months may not sound like a long time, but it's the longest I've managed to live without smoking since I was 14 years old."
"I quit cold turkey back in February 2008," writes Gary of Gainesville, Florida. "The wisdom found in the pages of the NTAP ebook helped shine a big light on my addiction. I was a moist canned tobacco 'dipper' and the methods are the same for any nicotine product."
"When I first discovered Joel's videos and articles it was 4 hours later and I was still reading," writes Kim from Ontario, Canada. "I am on day 14 and I have to say if I hadn't found Joel's words of wisdom I would still be smoking."
Imagine the possibilities if the engines of government joined in educating and supporting cold turkey quitting efforts instead of pulling the rug out from under quitters, by telling them to expect to fail.
It isn't just Spitzer's book and cold turkey quitting insights that the pharmacology industry works hard to suppress. It hides the fact that clinical trials of NRT, Zyban and Chantix were not blind as claimed, that it is impossible to hide the onset of full-blown nicotine withdrawal from experienced quitters randomly assigned to the study's placebo group.
Clinical science or consumer fraud? Do clinical trials measure efficacy or frustrations? A recently published study by the nicotine patch's co-inventor found that 4 times as many participants randomly assigned to wear placebo nicotine patches correctly guessed their assignment as guessed wrong.
An unpublished 2006 U.S. National Cancer Institute survey of 8,200 smokers, a 2006 Australian survey of smoking patients of 1,000 family practice physicians, and one year quitting rates from the United Kingdom's national stop smoking program, what the industry keeps secret is that cold turkey quitting has prevailed in nearly every quitting method survey ever conducted.
"I still hope at some point in time that all of these materials will become unnecessary and obsolete," says Spitzer. "Until then I'm thrilled that they are helping many to realize that even if the world at large isn't getting it yet, that those who read the ebook or watch the videos are mastering the key to quitting, which is simply to make and stick to a personal commitment to Never Take Another Puff."