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Joel's Stop Smoking Video Pages

Discussion, comments and links related to Joel Spitzer's cold turkey quit smoking videos

Standard reply for Allen Carr inquiries

I occasionally get asked questions about the similarities about my materials and Allen Carr’s programs. I am setting up this page as a standard reply.

If you check my page My work in the field of smoking prevention and cessation you will see that I started in the field of smoking prevention in the early 1970’s and started conducting my Stop Smoking Clinics in 1976. My core program and philosophy were pretty well established by 1978. Allen Carr quit smoking in 1983 and I believe sometime shortly after that wrote his first book and developed his program.

I didn’t see a copy of Allen Carr’s book until 2002. Up to that time his book was never widely distributed in the United States and I had never heard of Carr until 1999 when I started using the Internet.

When I started seeing his name on the Internet I was curious if he had seen my materials but from the quick look I had at the book in 2002 I got the sense that he had pretty much came up with a similar philosophy in the same way I did—really watching smokers quit. If you listen to successful ex-smokers close enough and long enough you can pick up the similarities in their approach. Most long term ex-smokers have never heard of either of us or any other expert yet they have learned from experience or in some cases just seem to instinctively know how to quit and how to stay off. Many ex-smokers will say from time to time that they still have moments where they would “kill for a cigarette,” but at the same time know that in reality, taking a cigarette would kill their quits and that losing their quit would likely end up killing them. This self learned knowledge it what is keeping their quits going.

I always tell people that they should learn from the experts when it comes to smoking cessation. The experts who should be seen as credible are not the Joel Spitzer’s or the Allen Carr’s of the world, but the real people who you know in your real world who are long-term successful quitters. The more you listen to the real ex-smoker you know in your real world as well as to the current smokers you know who have lost long-term quits the more obvious it will be that they way to quit smoking and then to stay free is by staying totally committed to never take another puff!

Related resources:

Video discusses how I originally got into the field of smoking prevention and cessation and links over to my website with pages set up describing my professional bio, personal story and links to articles that describe my work in the field over the past 43 years.

Related resources:

Commentary from the Freedom from Nicotine string related to Allen Carr references:

Discussing other books on smoking cessation at Freedom

There are a number of books out there on smoking cessation. Most of them are pretty useless, as well is as most of the professional material produced by most of the professional organizations around the world.

There is one book out there written by an British author that we often hear is quite similar with much of what we teach at Freedom. I have not read the book in detail, although I did actually see a copy one day and read it for about five minutes. To be honest, I was looking through it to see if he had lifted my work, for around 1999 I started seeing his name being discussed at sites with comparisons being made to me and him.

On my quick exam of the book I felt as if he had his own style and perspective and that he likely came to his conclusions on his own independently.

Many of our views did appear to be the same, but that is not surprising considering how I came out with my ideas which was watching people quit smoking and listening to their stories. You will find that the more you talk to successful long-term ex-smokers that there are going to be certain consistencies in their stories whether they ever read anything by me or the other author or whether they never read anything anywhere prior to quitting.

The reason we will not endorse any other book or service, even if they are somewhat in line with what we teach is that we do not believe that people need to spend a single cent on any thing in order to quit smoking and thus we are not going to help promote the purchase of anything. Here is a post that John put up a number of years ago that covers this issue

It won’t come as news to Joel or this other fella either that 91.2% of successful one-year quitters quit entirely on their own without reading either Joel’s Library or his Way. They each either broke free without realizing the mechanics of how they did so (which places their quit at increased risk of future relapse) or after discovering the true power of one puff of nicotine, through repeated failure and the school-of-hard-quit-knocks (the reason for our existence – accelerated learning and sharing of their lessons).

As Joel has repeatedly reminded me, we’re not teaching anyone “our” way of quitting but the way that almost all but a small sliver of earth’s successful long term quitters quit. We teach “their” way! Joel learned their way by watching, studying, and recording what he saw. Maybe that’s why Joel is so insistent on ensuring that it’s given away for free – the stories and messages belong to those who taught them to Joel.

No member here at Freedom should feel the need to rush out an purchase any book, tape, plans, program or other materials. In fact, our rules forbid posts that make any member feel that they need to go spend money in order to quit, or if they don’t spend money they are missing something important.

With over 170,000 archived member posts all covering “their” way of quitting “they” have done a pretty darn good job at documenting how to get from point A (slavery) to point B (freedom)!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long, John

Also related from the same Freedom from Nicotine board string:

Yesterday a new member wrote how she had purchased and was listening to a relaxation tape for 20 minutes a day to help her to quit smoking. She wrote a message to me on the board asking what the harm of using such a tape would be. I thought the topic deserved its own thread.

Below is my response to the question of what harm could there be with using a purchased tape in order to quit smoking. (I edited the post up a little to make it clearer for this new post.)

I actually have never listened to the any of the tapes that have been developed for smoking cessation and I am not sure what they all say in them. There are so many different type of conventional wisdoms shared in most smoking cessation literature–concepts that may very well undercut a quit if taken to heart. See the page The teaching of conventional wisdom at Freedom. In almost all professional print literature produced on smoking cessation there is the concept stated that if a person “slips”, he or she should not let it undercut his or her quit. In essence, that one piece of advice has given the person the permission to slip and not relapse. I do not know if your tape has that kind of advice or concept shared, or any other kind that may be contraindicated. If it does and you take the advice to heart it could very well undercut your quit one day.

Another reason that we do not endorse tapes or books or other services is that we don’t want any of our members or readers to feel that they need to spend a penny on anything to quit smoking. There may be some members that have used tapes or went for hypnosis, but the vast majority of people at our site did not. When it comes down to it the vast majority of long-term successful ex-smokers in the world did not use these techniques either. Also, the majority of people who did utilize these products or services as their sole support failed in their attempts. Under these conditions I see many of these services and products as a waste of money and we do not want any of our members or readers getting the idea of wasting any of their money by recommendations that that they read here from posts at Freedom.

Another thing that I think is worth pointing out is that I would advice any person who is allocating 20 minutes a day to support his or her long-term success to spend that time reinforcing his or her resolve at a thoroughly conscious level. That time can be used reading and learning about the dangers of smoking and the benefits of quitting here at Freedom and at WhyQuit. This information can really reinforce a person’s understanding as to why he or she quit and why he or she still wishes to remain smoke free. I think reading at Freedom and WhyQuit is much more likely to accomplish reinforcing a person’s resolve to stay smoke free than listening to the taped sounds of the ocean.

The concept that you need a tape to relax after quitting is likely perpetuating the myth that you are going to be more nervous because of quitting. The majority of people who successfully get nicotine out of their body and keep nicotine out end up being calmer for they are no longer experiencing the active addiction that they had sustained for years or decades while using. See Nicotine and stress

The way to keep your quit alive and well, and likely, you along with it, is to continue to reinforce your understanding of nicotine addiction and your reasons for having quit and to keep reminding yourself of the benefits that you continue to derive from sticking to your personal commitment to never take another puff!


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Reformatted 06/27/18 and link repaired 03/08/19 by John R. Polito