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How to Quit Smoking by Using an Allen Carr Book

Four Parts:Taking Preliminary StepsBeginning the ProcessEnding Your Relationship with NicotineCompleting the Process

Reading Allen Carr's The Easy Way to Stop Smoking can be a positive experience if you're looking to end your relationship for tobacco. The book, written by a former chain-smoker, has sold 6 million copies in its 20 years on the market. The techniques Carr suggests have worked for many looking for help quitting smoking.

Part 1
Taking Preliminary Steps

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    Familiarize yourself with Allen Carr. Before you begin the process of quitting using Carr's books, familiarize yourself with who Allen Carr was and the effectiveness of his technique.
    • Allen Carr was a British author who wrote books on quitting smoking. He was a former 100-a-day chain smoker and successfully quit smoking after 33 years. He shared the method that worked for him in his bestselling book The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.
    • The effectiveness of Carr's method has been boasted over the years, and spread largely through word-of-mouth. While scientific studies on the Carr method are limited, a 2014 study did show smokers using the Allen Carr method were six times more likely to abstain from tobacco after 13 months in comparison to smokers using other methods.[1]
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    Purchase a copy of The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. Allen Carr's book is still widely available both online and in bookstores. You can also likely find a copy at the library. Before you can begin using the Allen Carr method, you need to obtain a copy of the book.
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    Set a date and time to stop smoking. The first step Carr advises is to set a specific time and date to quit.
    • You should pick a time in the near future. Mark it on your calendar as the day you will quit smoking.[2]
    • You should not try to cut down beforehand. Carr aims to sever the relationship smokers have with nicotine by showing smokers cigarettes do nothing to enhance their enjoyment of life. Cutting back before the date you've set calls more attention to the fact you're quitting, making cigarettes seem more precious.[3]
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    Understand cigarettes do nothing for you. One of the motivators Carr uses in The Easy Way to Quit Smoking is pointing out the absurdity of cigarette use itself. In order to quit, consider the poor effects cigarettes have on your health in comparison to their total lack of benefits.
    • Carr points out giving up cigarettes is essentially giving up nothing. The habit provides no genuine pleasure. The only purpose nicotine serves is to keep users addicted. You are giving up nothing and simultaneously making a tremendously positive change to your health and lifestyle.[4]
    • Cigarettes are very dangerous to your health. They harm every organ in the body, cause a litany of diseases including lung cancer, and reduce the overall health of the user. Giving them up will gradually reduce your risk of lung disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.[5]
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    Light your final cigarette. Carr advises that when you light your final cigarette you make a vow you will never smoke again no matter how difficult the process of quitting becomes.[6]
    • Keep track of your quitting date. Make time the night before for your final cigarette.
    • Sometimes, writing out a list of benefits is helpful. People use this as a motivator for a variety of lifestyle changes, including weight loss and quitting alcohol. If it's helpful to you, write out your vow to quit smoking and include a list of the benefits it will have on your health. Keep this piece of paper where you can see it, like on the refrigerator, and reference it when you feel temptation.

Part 2
Beginning the Process

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    Prepare for nicotine withdrawal. In the first days especially, your body will go through a harsh withdrawal period due to the lack of nicotine in the system. This might result in you reaching for a cigarette, but try to resist the temptation.
    • Remember that withdrawal is temporary and will pass within a few days. Also, keep in mind smokers suffer periodic nicotine withdrawal throughout their lives in situations where they cannot access cigarettes. As you are now a non-smoker, you will soon never have to suffer these symptoms again.[7]
    • Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal include anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, increased appetite, headaches, difficulty concentrating, and weight gain.[8]
    • Symptoms usually appear within 2 to 3 hours of your last cigarette. If you have been smoking longer or in great amounts, your symptoms may be harsher and last longer.[9]
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    Cope with situations and stimuli that make you crave cigarettes. Carr does not recommend avoiding the parts of life that remind you of smoking. Rather, Carr advises that you alter your thinking to focus on the positives of the situation.
    • Throughout the day, there will be times when you are tempted to smoke. If you always had a cigarette with your morning coffee, for example, you might crave a cigarette then. Try to think about the situation in terms of what you're gaining rather than losing. Don't think, "I can't have a cigarette right now." Instead think, "Isn't it great I get to enjoy this moment tobacco free?"[10]
    • Do not shy away from social occasions. Go out and see people. If you notice people smoking, again think of the positives. You are freeing yourself from an addiction and making a commitment to a healthier future.[11]
    • If someone offers you a cigarette, simply say, "No thanks, I don't smoke" or "No thanks, I quit." You do not need to launch into a lengthy explanation. The less time you spend thinking of cigarettes, the better.[12]
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    Avoid thinking about cigarettes. Thinking about smoking, and the fact you're quitting, throughout your journey can set you up for failure. You should try to avoid thoughts of nicotine while you're trying to quit.
    • Once again, when cravings arrive instead of thinking, "I can't smoke" think, "It's great I'm a non-smoker now." Reframing your mind to focus on the positives is more sustainable long-term. Think about how good it is to quit rather than the difficulty of quitting.[13]
    • If you can't stop thinking of cigarettes, do something to take your mind off of smoking. Go for a long walk, watch something on TV, call up a friend or family member. Do anything you can to keep yourself focused on the present moment and away from the temptations of smoking.

Part 3
Ending Your Relationship with Nicotine

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    Understand you can never socially smoke. Many smokers feel overconfident after refraining from smoking for a few weeks or months. You might think it's safe to go back to smoking socially once in awhile, but this is not the case.
    • Quitting smoking means totally severing your relationship with an addictive substance. One cigarette can quickly draw you back into the trap. Never think of one cigarette as one cigarette. Think of it as part of a lifelong deadly habit.[14]
    • Nicotine is one of the most addictive narcotics in existence. This is why social smokers or casual smokers tend to eventually become chain smokers. Nicotine affects the brain by acting on certain pathways to stimulate feelings of pleasure, creating the sensation a cigarette is somehow a reward. Over 85% of people who attempt to quit nicotine without assistance relapse within a week. This is why having "just one" is so dangerous. Nicotine is notoriously hard to give up and you need to avoid anything that increases your likelihood of relapse.[15]
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    Do not use nicotine substitutes. Carr advises against nicotine substitutes, such as nicotine gum or the nicotine patch.
    • Substitutes encourage you to think in terms of sacrifice. You are not making a sacrifice by giving up nicotine but rather respecting yourself and your body enough to quit.[16]
    • Also, substitutes keep the nicotine addiction alive. The sooner you can break dependency, the easier it is to give up smoking.[17]
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    Do not keep emergency cigarettes on hand. Many people attempting to quit smoking keep emergency cigarettes in the house in case of a powerful craving. You should not keep any cigarettes in your home after you've made the decision to quit.
    • Keeping cigarettes on hand implies doubt. In order to successfully quit, you need to proceed with the knowledge this is the best choice for you and your loved ones.[18]
    • Remember, you are a non-smoker the moment you finish your last cigarette. You have no need for tobacco anymore. If it's particularly hard for you to purge your house of cigarettes, ask a friend or family member to go through your home and remove tobacco for you.[19]

Part 4
Completing the Process

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    Prepare for life to return to normal. After a while, not smoking will cease to feel abnormal. You will begin to return to your usual routine and establish new rituals and habits around your life as a non-smoker.
    • You might still have a craving for "just one cigarette," especially as normalcy resumes. Remember, it's never just one cigarette. It's a lifelong habit that you've given up.[20]
    • Congratulate yourself on those moments, such as social situations, where you turn down offers of tobacco. Take pride in yourself and the fact you've given up smoking. Focusing on the positives is more sustainable long-term.[21]
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    Seek professional help if you're having issues. If you're having trouble quitting on your own, you might need to seek additional professional help alongside your Allen Carr book.
    • Support groups are usually available in psychiatric clinics, where a trained physician or therapist leads discussions with other people attempting to quit.
    • Narcotics Anonymous is a non-profit organization that hosts meetings for recovering addicts to provide support. You can find meetings in your area through NA's website.[22]
    • If you're struggling to quit smoking, talk to your physician. You could also seek out the help of a professional therapist to see if any underlying emotional issues fuel your addiction.
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    Ask for continued support from friends and family members. Remember, you cannot quit smoking alone. As you continue in your recovery, talk openly with friends and family members about your decision to quit and ask that they support you.
    • Ask the smokers in the family not to smoke in front of you or offer you cigarettes.
    • Ask a few friends or family members if you can call them when you're getting a craving. Pick people who are empathetic and easy to talk to.
    • If someone does not support your decision, it's best to temporarily sever ties from that person. Negativity fuels addiction.


  • Weight gain is a concern for many in regards to quitting smoking. Ceasing nicotine consumption does not in and of itself cause you to put on extra pounds. The problem is that people often substitute nicotine for food. Try eliminating tempting and unhealthy snacks from your kitchen and upping your exercise routine.
  • Scare tactics, such as statistics and alarming pictures, make smokers experience withdrawal pangs sooner. Avoid places where these kinds of tactics are used.


  • Any major lifestyle changes should be done with the advice of a physician. Keep in mind that if you are on medicare or medicaid that smoking cessation products are regularly covered, so long as you have a prescription.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Smoking Addictions