1. To counter the false assertion that successful quitting without using quitting products, procedures or programs (including our program) is rare, when in truth unassisted cold turkey quitting will generate more long-term successful ex-smokers this year than all other methods combined.
2. To impart an understanding of the highly addictive nature of tobacco and nicotine products and how nicotine enslaves the same brain dopamine pathways as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
3. To help all understand that although nicotine may be one of the most captivating drugs known to man, that it is simply a chemical with an I.Q. of zero. It is no match against your greatest weapon of all, your intelligence and becoming an educated quitter.
5. To provide a totally free education resource devoted to the costs, risks and known dangers posed by smoking, tobacco and nicotine, including lessons (Joel's Library) and support Turkeyville) in the art, science and psychology of abrupt nicotine cessation.
6. To assist ex-users in avoiding relapse.
7. To aid youth and young adults in grasping the full range of risks associated with nicotine dependency before they begin to experiment.
8. To counter nicotine addiction industry:
- Shotgun-type tobacco and nicotine marketing that has zero regard for the age or maturity of the mind it strikes.
- Practices of knowingly enticing purchase and use of nicotine products in the presence of children and teens.
- Marketing which suggests to youth false reasons why adults purchase and use cigarettes, e-cigs, smokeless tobacco or nicotine products.
- Total silence in teaching youth the full spectrum of consequences associated with becoming addicted to nicotine.
9. To counter pharmaceutical industry:
- Marketing which falsely suggests that quitting cold turkey is nearly impossible, when in fact it is the method used by the vast majority of successful long-term quitters.
- Marketing implications that placebo is a real-world quitting method.
- Research and marketing suggestions that the expectations of clinical trial placebo users who joined clinical trials in order to obtain a 50/50 chance of receiving weeks or months of free dopamine pathway stimulating chemicals (chemicals they hoped would diminish their withdrawal syndrome), have any legitimate comparison to real-world cold turkey quitters, quitters who fully expect to endure and successfully navigate withdrawal.
- Claims that cessation pharmacology research is science-based and the ridiculous assertion and fiction that researchers in placebo controlled clincal trials were somehow able to blind and hide from nicotine addicts the onset or absence of full-blown withdawal. Clinical trial efficacy findings do not reflect product effectiveness but frustrated and fulfilled participant expectations, and the intensity, duration and quality of counseling, contact and support offered within each study.
- And to end use of placebo controls in cessation clincial trials as being in clear violation of Principle 33 of the World Medical Association's (WMA) Declaration of Helsinki, which commands that the "benefits, risks, burdens and effectiveness of a new intervention must be tested against those of the best current proven intervention," that placebos should not be used unless "compelling and scientifically sound methodological reasons" are demonstrated. Common sense screams that the intentional slaughter of placebo quitters inside clinical trials, in order to create newsworthy results and avoid honest and much needed cessation product and quitting method competition, must come to an end.
10. To motivate government health officials to analyze the history of pharmaceutical industry financial influence upon official cessation policy and to immediately suspend any policy suggesting that it is against national cessation policy for a quitter to trust their natural instincts and quit cold turkey by abruptly ending all nicotine use, policies which instead falsely suggest that weeks or months of real-world use of approved products which stimulate brain dopamine pathways is superior to abruptly ending stimulation.
11. To aid all who have arrested their dependency in understanding that the only means of preventing relapse is to remain committed to never using nicotine again ... to Never Take Another Puff, Dip, Vape or Chew!
WhyQuit unites four independent cessation resources: motivation enhancement, a quality education, serious group support (via Facebook), and free professional cessation counseling. Each resource serves a dual dependency prevention objective of motivating youth to not start, helping them see through the smoke, nicotine and deceptive marketing, and providing a ring-side seat in watching those addicted to nicotine as they reclaim control of their minds, health and lives.
WhyQuit's education foundation is anchored in the life's work of Joel Spitzer, a Chicago nicotine dependency prevention and cessation counselor and programs director who started his career as a smoking prevention health educator with the American Cancer Society in 1972. Since then, Joel has presented more than 690 live seminars to approximately 100,000 attendees and more than 350 full nicotine cessation clinics reaching over 4,500 participants.
From 2000 to 2008, Joel's Evanston and Skokie Health Department programs were funded by the State of Illinois, where he served as smoking prevention and cessation consultant to the Evanston Department of Health and Human Services. He has served as WhyQuit's education director since 2000, and daily provides guidance to new quitters at Freedom, where from 2000 to 2010 he served as a director. More than 100 of his original cessation articles are featured at WhyQuit in Joel's Library, along with links to his 400+ free counseling videos, and his highly popular free PDF e-book "Never Take Another Puff," which as of July 7, 2012 had recorded four million Internet downloads.
WhyQuit's founder and director is John R. Polito, a former 30-year three pack-a-day smoker who has mentored under Joel since January 20, 2000. In September 1999, John co-founded Freedom from Tobacco, then a a free MSN based support group which in January 2009 migrated to Yuku and was renamed Freedom from Nicotine. In 2001 John started presenting free two-week clinics and seminars modeled upon Joel's programs. From 2003-2006 he presented free bi-monthly seminars at the College of Charleston. During 2007, South Carolina First Lady Jenny Sanford featured John's quitting tips in her "Healthy South Carolina Challenge." The South Carolina Department of Corrections retained him to present 63 nicotine cessation seminars in 28 state prisons during 2007-2008, as the prisons went tobacco-free. On January 1, 2009, John released his free PDF e-book "Freedom from Nicotine - The Journey Home." John's nicotine cessation articles and opinions are being published in peer reviewed medical journals.
WhyQuit, Freedom and WhyQuit's Facebook site are staffed by cessation educators who have each studied under Joel Spitzer. Please note that none of the forum's educators, including Joel Spitzer, are physicians or doctors and WhyQuit's information and services are designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a site visitor and his/her physician. Do not rely upon any information at this site to replace individual consultations with your doctor or other qualified health care provider.
Disclosure of Financial and Competing Interests
Each site has been developed, is maintained and is funded (if necessary) by its editor, director, author or managers. Since 1999, no WhyQuit site has received any public or private funding whatsoever, no financial donations have ever been accepted by anyone associated with any site, and no editor, author or manager receives any financial compensation whatsoever for their online work. For a detailed statement visit WhyQuit's Disclosure page.
The original WhyQuit.Com was founded by John R. Polito of Charleston, South Carolina on July 15, 1999. A long-term heavy smoker, John experienced at least a dozen failed attempts before promising himself that he'd never attempt quitting again. It was then that he fully surrendered to the reality that he was a true drug addict and that his addiction would cost him his life. It was then that he no longer needed his three decade collection of denial rationalizations, minimizations and blame transference. It was then that his eyes opened and he permitted himself to discover an entire world of online education and support.
The first story ever shared at WhyQuit was Bryan's. The original site purpose was to help dispel the myth that smoking only harms old smokers. Since then, WhyQuit has evolved into the Internet's premier abrupt nicotine cessation destination.
Joel Spitzer has been a leading authority in the development and implementation of smoking cessation and prevention programs for over 40 years. Far from simply following and teaching the commonly held beliefs of the day, Joel recognized early on that nicotine was a true chemical dependency while the medical and scientific community continued to contend it was simply a habit. His unique insights combined with pre-pharmacotherapy smoking science, allowing him to develop and implement nicotine prevention and intervention strategies that were decades ahead of their time. One important tool was a large collection of short clinic follow-up letters that he sent to clinic graduates to help reinforce their recovery. During 2000 this collection of letters became the center piece of WhyQuit's educational experience where they were collective referred to as "Joel's Library."
Starting in 2006, Joel started recording video quitting lessons that mirrored much of the content from his live two-week quitting clinics. Today, the number of free video lessons is nearing 500. Joel's entire reinforcement library is online, free to all, continues to grow and is being widely used. In fact, it's nearly impossible to locate any Internet quitting forum where members are not openly sharing and discussing his articles. His teachings and daily guidance were not only instrumental in molding WhyQuit and Freedom into world class education oriented sites, online graduates from nations around the globe are spreading the word, as requests to translate his work into different languages continue to arrive.
The original AskJoel was founded on December 2, 2005 as an Aimoo message board site which no longer accepts questions. Joel revived the Ask Joel concept in 2018 via submission of questions as comments to an Ask Joel YouTube video.
Joel has selflessly dedicated his entire life toward helping free smokers. Today, you'll find him on YouTube, making videos and responding to video comment questions.
Founded on May 25, 2009, it wasn't until early 2012 that Turkeyville, WhyQuit's Facebook group, became super active in motivating smokers and others dependent upon nicotine to quit cold turkey, and in supporting them through early withdrawal. Since then, group membership has skyrocketed. Today, Turkeyville is the Internet's most popular cold turkey stop smoking support group. The group's Rules nearly mirror Freedom's except that it is open to all cold turkey quitters, not just new quitters between recovery days 3 and 30.
Turkeyville's Volunteer Staff
Joy Kauffman, Senior Manager & Mayor - March 2012 -Present Florida, United States
Sallie Hamilton, Assistant Manager - 2012 - Present Wisconsin, United States
Freedom was WhyQuit's original support group. A peer support and education message board founded on September 8, 1999 by John R. Polito and Joanne Diehl, due to a number of factors. Freedom ceased accepting new members on September 6, 2017.
The most memorable day in Freedom's 18 year history was January 20, 2000. It was then that Joel Spitzer joined the forum, bringing with him the educational cornerstone that would transform Freedom into a highly effective nicotine dependency recovery tool. On January 18, 2009, Freedom moved from MSN to Yuku and was renamed "Freedom from Nicotine." Thousands of threads were lost during migration and all thread links were non-functional.
On September 5, 2017 Yuku migrated Freedom to Tapatalk, a new message board host. Additional thread formatting, links and images were damaged. We also experienced problems in admitting members and could no longer keep the forum totally free of advertising by paying modest fees for ad-free thread views. Additonally, Turkeyville, with membership approaching 10,000, was thriving under Joy and Sallie's watchful eyes.
Today, with the aid of the WayBack Machine, we are slowly rebuilding Freedom's core recovery lessons at WhyQuit. The first two threads rebuilt were "Tell a newbie how many seconds a day you still want a cigarette" and The Law of Addiction. Dispite all the ads, we suspect that for years to come Freedom will continue to be a reference resource for quitters as they transition to freedom from nicotine.
Freedom's Volunteer Staff
Sallie Hamilton, Senior Manager - January 2006 - Wisconsin, United States
Suzie Ryan, Admissions Director - December 2007 - New South Wales, Australia
Joe E. Jiamachello - Manager at Freedom 2009 - 2015 & Turkeyville 2012 - 2015
Tami Nolte - Turkeyville, Manager 2013 - 2015
Joseph Savastano - Freedom, Manager 2009
Robin Sathaye - Freedom, Manager 2007 - 2009
Dennis Blasch - Freedom, Manager 2008 - 2009
Kristen Dittman - Freedom, Manager 2006 - 2008
Rick Bailey - Freedom, Manager 2006 - 2007
Linda Schwartz - Freedom, Admissions Director and Manager - 2000 to 2006
Joel Spitzer - Freedom, Director of Education 2000 to 2010 and Manager - 2000 to 2006
Joanne Diehl - Freedom, Co-founder and Manager - 1999 to 2006
John R. Polito - Freedom, Co-founder and Manager - 1999 to 2005
WhyQuit's 2002 banners were created by Melissa, a/k/a Mrs. Toast (Gold)
The 2002 make-over of WhyQuit's main page formatted by OBob (Gold)
In 2002 the more than 90+ articles then known as Joel's Library were proofed by Dave, a/k/a Hillbilly (Gold)
In 2002 the business cards featured and available on WhyQuit's main page were created by a Freedom member from Bedford, Mass, Knowbutts (Gold)
In 2003 Joel's 90+ articles in Joel's Library were assembled into PDF book entitled "Never Take Another Puff" by BillW (Gold)
In 2003 a new Freedom member from Greece designed a quit meter that incorporated Freedom's Green, Bronze, Silver and Gold milestones. Harry (Gold)
Freedom's Color Clubs were updated and maintained by the UK's Martin Rosen (Marty) from 2009 until 2014, when Marty officially retired from service. A Nov. 30, 2000 quitter, Marty was one of the group's most active members almost from Freedom's birth. Thank you, Cuthbert, and all, for your years of dedicated service!