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Psychological Quit Programs

A good quit smoking program will combine a strategy for eliminating nicotine with techniques for getting rid of your psychological dependence. 


Regardless of whether you choose a residential, class-room, or home-study program, the psychological factors around quitting are the same, so whatever kind of program you choose, make sure it has a strong psychological component.


Sign up for the Quit Smoking Tips below to learn more about techniques for eliminating the psychological dependence, and learn more about choosing a good program. 


Mini Quit Smoking Course

This free mini-course is a series of quit smoking lessons delivered over e-mail. Each lesson explains an important concept and an action step you can take to address it. Plus you will also get answers from the Quit Smoking Advisor, published every couple of weeks.

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The Quit Smoking mini-course is provided by Quasar Transformations, producer of The Complete Quit System.

 The Complete Quit System is a proprietary program designed to eliminate both the physical addiction and the psychological dependence related to smoking. 


EasyWay Method to Stop Smoking: Is There Really an "Easy" Way?

The Easy Way to Stop Smoking, according to Allen Carr, is to read his book.  I've summarized my impressions of the book in the first couple of paragraphs below, and provide a little more detail about it on the rest of this page.

Executive Summary

If you already know that smoking doesn't make you smarter, sexier, or more relaxed, you won't learn much from this book.  On the other hand, if you haven't yet internalized these things, or if you have any doubts at all about whether smoking is bad for you, then get this book and read it immediately.  It may not make you quit, but it will certainly provide you with a lot of information about why you should. 

Easy Way to Stop Smoking does a pretty good job of explaining various smoking fallacies, and understanding these fallacies can help put you in the right frame of mind to quit smoking.  It is very well reviewed on Amazon, so clearly a number of people DID find the information in this book helpful.

If you do already understand why you should quit, and are looking for something to tell you HOW, this isn't it.  There's not much in the way of 'method' in Easy Way to Stop Smoking, beyond the instructions "Decide to quit.  Quit.  Whenever you think you want a cigarette, tell yourself, 'Yay, I've quit.'"  In general, the book is simplistic and repetitive, but if you need something to shore up your resolve to quit, this book may help with that.   


The Easy Way to Stop Smoking book was first published in 1985, and since then has sold millions of copies.  Interestingly, Allen Carr (the author) was an accountant who actually quit via hypnosis, but does not attribute his success at quitting to that.  Instead, in his book he describes trying to figure out why it was so easy that time (not to mention successful) when it had been so difficult before.  The Allen Carr Easy Way to Stop Smoking method is the product of that exploration. 

The general premise of the Easy Way to Stop Smoking is that instead of looking at reasons to quit smoking, it makes more sense to turn it around and ask, why smoke?  According to the author, the only reason folks smoke at all is because of the nicotine addiction and what he calls 'brainwashing.'  The 'brainwashing' refers to all of the ways society, cigarette manufacturers, and the nicotine addiction itself convince you that there is something good or useful about smoking.  In fact, Carr does a good job of making the case that virtually all of the 'pleasure' you get from smoking is really a function of relieving either the physical or psychological addiction.  Once you've broken out of those addictions, there is, in fact, nothing to 'give up' and quitting becomes easy.

So the Easy Way to Stop Smoking method, in a nutshell, consists of reading the book - while continuing to smoke - to 'undo' the brainwashing.  Once you've undone the brainwashing, putting out your last cigarette and eliminating the physical addiction to nicotine is not only easy, it's actually joyful as you realize that you are finally freeing yourself from the nicotine 'monster.' 

My Impressions

I actually agree with the general premise of the book ― that virtually all of the enjoyment from smoking is a function of relieving some aspect of a physical addiction to nicotine or a psychological dependence on smoking itself.  It's also true that once you've freed yourself from these, that quitting is pretty easy. The problem is, getting over the dependence ― especially the psychological dependence ― is just not as simple as reading a book and understanding the information, at least for most people. 

One reason that's true is because people process information in two different 'modes,' using two different information systems:  the Rational System, and the Experiential System.  It is primarily the Rational System that works to understand the information in the Easy Way to Stop Smoking book, but unfortunately, the desire to smoke is rooted in the Experiential System.  The ultimate outcome of quitting using only information processed by the Rational System is that you manage to quit (at least for awhile), but the desire to smoke remains strong. 

Easy Way to Stop Smoking fails to deal with this very important issue.  In one of the final chapters, Carr describes how he is frustrated by the category of smokers who find it a struggle to quit.  (Isn't that most folks?)  One of the problems, he says, is that they've misunderstood his instructions.  His response to someone who quits but is still craving cigarettes is: 

"Then you are being very stupid.  How can you claim, 'I want to be a non-smoker' and then say 'I want a cigarette?'  That's a contradiction.  If you say, 'I want a cigarette,' you are saying, 'I want to be a smoker.'  Non-smokers don't want to smoke cigarettes."

In fact, people who have quit smoking recently often DO have a strong desire to smoke.  However, it's hard to imagine how this comment, focused strongly on Rational System processing, would be at all helpful in that situation.  What you need instead are functional tools to begin to eliminate the desire to smoke where it lives - in the Experiential System.

(Read more about psychological smoking dependence.)

Pros and Cons

What are the pros and cons of The Easy Way to Stop Smoking? 



My Recommendations

Some smokers would probably benefit from the information in this book, but I wouldn't rely on it as a method for quitting - there's just not much 'method' to it.  You should also understand that the author doesn't have a background/education in psychology (he quit his job as an accountant when he 'discovered' this 'method'), so his treatment of psychological principles tends to be simplistic and in some cases simply inaccurate. 

Ultimately, if you're looking for something to help get you into the right frame of mind to quit, especially if you like to read, it may be worth checking out. From a cost perspective, it's low risk: you can buy  Easy Way to Stop SmokingEasyWay to Quit Smoking Book for around $10 on Amazon. 

On the other hand, if you're looking for an actual step-by-step method, you'll need to keep looking - this book falls far short.

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