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Allen Carr's Book--Major Flaw in His Method   General Chit-Chat

Started Jan-18 by MarieQuit; 420 views.

From: MarieQuit


Hi All,

I did what I thought was going to be my last quit on my birthday--last Sunday. I got through almost 5 days. But today I bought a pack when I went out for milk. But I knew I was going to buy the pack, so the milk was secondary. I had already decided to buy the cigs before I even left the house.

However, I also decided that I would spend the day listening to Allen Carr's book. I had bought the audio-book version, based on recommendations here. I would recommend listening to it, versus reading it, btw. I think someone talking at you for several hours probably helps v. reading it.

Anyway--there is a HUGE flaw in Carr's "method." He never, ever talks about what nicotine does to/in the brain. Lots of talk about how addictive it is, and how we are all addicts, and the hideous, evil mechanism that makes our first cigarette the beginning of the whole long smoking life. But he just ignores the fact that nicotine actually affects our brains and DOES produce an effect. Some studies say a positive effect. There is a reason why it's SO addictive, and it's extremely naive or scam-y of him not to deal with that in any way.

So many people here are touting the book, so I wanted to give my take on it. And I saw many posts from people who'd read it, but were sad that they still weren't quit. It's not you, it's that the book/method is missing a big point.

All that being said, I did find a ton of useful stuff the book. For example, I've always been SO proud that I decided to smoke outside 18 years ago, and have not had a cig inside my home since. But now I believe, per Carr, that I just made it harder to do without smoking by putting rules around it. Putting restrictions on my smoking just made the cigs I did smoke more precious. (Any Tolkien fans here? LOL)

And I love that he reminds us that we didn't always smoke, and that we were able to function before we did. Granted, for me that was 42 years ago or the like, but still it helps to think back to my pre-smoking self and the FACT that I was functioning just fine before I started.

It also helps to have it spelled out what a chain it all is--meaning how he points out that we feel we want the next cig because of the last cig. We need to break that chain to be done with it.

And that we don't really get anything out of smoking, but the relief of feeding the little monster inside us. And that it is NOT a pleasure--at least not at this point, or we wouldn't be reading his book or on this forum.

Well, I wanted to share my thoughts and I hope it's OK that I have. I think I'm now well-armed, thanks to the book, you folks, my friends and family, and even because I lapsed, to be able to really do it now--and without any gum or lozenges. Although, again, Carr discounts these heavily, but that's because he never, ever acknowledges the effects of nicotine. I think that NRT is NOT a bad thing, as long as it doesn't, in turn, prolong the addiction.

OK--I hope this is coherent and helps. I thought Carr's book was going to save me and make it truly "easy" to stop. NO. That BIG FLAW (possibly the big lie) in his method--not acknowledging that nicotine has an actual effect, or why else would it grab us like it did/has/does, tells me it's not THE answer. But as I said, there is a lot in there that is helpful. But no one should think that if they read the book and still couldn't quit there is something wrong with them. And I felt I needed to make that point here.

In the meantime, thank you for being here, and giving a struggling idjit a place to "talk."


I've been quit for over 6 years and Allan Carr's book got me and many people into the quit mindset. So I must say my take. It helped me and I read and reread it several times. Yes he didn't go into how our brain got forever changed once we got hooked but so what this is a drug addiction. It's easy to criticize authors but we are the ones that need to choose to stay quit so read everything to get a thorough understanding of the process of the quit. Use as many tools as you need to stay quit and Allan Carr's book is just another tool. It takes a full year or more till you are free so keep busy and help support each other out till you are free.

I recommend his book, the Whyquit.com site, YouTube videos that talk of how cigarettes are manufactured and this awesome forum. The pay it forward process has helped many people find success. 

"Quitting isn't for Sissies!" I quit poisoning myself Sept. 27, 2013


From: June2019


Hi M-

Because I tend to do things backward & read instructions after the fact, I didn't buy Carr's book until I was a week into this quit and looking for all the 'support' I could get my paws on after realizing how tuff this was going to be.  

I agree with you that his style tends to simplify quitting. On the other hand - like Debbie said, a lot of quitting an addictive habit (as well as establishing a productive habit) has to do with mindset.   I just tell myself its no longer an option & imagine I'm stuck on an island or a boat where there are no smokes. Mind games to get through craves & temptations of early days.  Then I think of people I know who have quit & say 'if they can, so can I, 'cause I've gone through a lot worse crap than them.'  Again, this is a mind game as I have no idea what someone else's personal history is.  

What Allan Carr wrote at some point that really got me thinking was about how much less power we had over our lives as children than most of us do as adults. So true, and in my own case by childhood was difficult/less than optimal yet I got through it. And a lot of getting through it was  mind games - I looked at other neighborhood families that functioned the way I wish mine did and that was my goal - to grow up to be like those moms. I learned to wear emotional armor and persevere.  If I could get through that (a childhood I don't like to think about), then dang nabbit, I can quit smoking. 

Sorry for the personal rambling/backstory - but our I truly believe that perceptions are vitally important in overcoming addiction and moving forward. Carr's book gets the reader focused on the mindset which, imo, is key to success in anything.

Best of luck to you (and all of us)-

June2019-puff free since 6/7/2019


From: QuitJul19


Like you, I  needed the science behind addiction. To me, his book oversimplified quitting. For those with depression and anxiety like myself, I needed to understand the brain chemistry just like I did with my other issues. For me it was all intertwined and I needed medical supervision to get everything done and preserve my mental health with cessation. I read other science based books on addiction and that's what helped me most. I think as with everything, everyone finds their own path and no stone is to be left unturned in walking that path. I think he has helped many and I do not discount his method, but it just doesn't work for everyone. It's trial and error at times finding what works. 


From: SusanK1960


Hi Marie,

I believe that Allen Carr’s book is a wonderful place to start when you first quit smoking.  I also don’t believe it should be the only source.  I have read every VeryWellMind article related to smoking, I have watched Joel Spitzer videos, I have read psychology today articles, and have read most entry on this forum, including journals, monthly entries, etc..

I would encourage you to view it as a tool in your quit tool box.  You will need more tools as your addiction/habit is being loosened and new habits will need to be built using other tools.

I found keeping an open mind, try different techniques suggested, and being flexible have helped me with this quit, as opposed to my other attempts.  If you check with the long term quitters, none of them quit exactly the same, however, they all say to be a non smoker/ex smoker/former smoker is: don’t smoke.

We have faith in you, have faith in yourself.

  • Edited February 7, 2020 4:58 pm  by  SusanK1960

From: DebraAnne60


For me, Allen Carr's book took away the fallacy  that I enjoyed smoking.  I could smell and taste how awful those cigarettes were before I quit and I thought that was amazing.  That was what I got from Allen Carr's book.   

His book has given many people the help in getting into the correct mindset. There are always going to be people that pick apart good ideas or say this sucks and that sucks etc. I read and reread his book countless times as it was like a great friend helping me stay in that quit mindset and view cigarettes as poison and that I mo longer wanted to be a Drug Addict. 

I think every resource is needed even if you don't agree with everything they say. Just keep using every single quit tool you can to help you get through one day at a time. Every one of us has the ability to end our addiction just make a solid choice and refuse to let anything or anyone sabotage your quit. Stay focused on becoming free and changing your life for the good. This forum is our rehab facility and hundreds of people have successfully quit using all the tools the mods have outlined. Stay close to the forum and help each other stay quit together.

"Quitting isn't for Sissies!" I quit poisoning myself Sept. 27, 2013