Allen Carr was a chain smoker for over 30 years. In 1983, after countless failed attempts to quit, he went from 60–100 cigarettes a day to zero without suffering withdrawal pangs, without using willpower, and without putting on weight. He realized that he had discovered what the world had been waiting for, the easy way to stop smoking, and embarked on a mission to help cure the world’s smokers.
As a result of the phenomenal success of his method, he gained an international reputation as the world’s leading expert on stopping smoking, and his network of clinics now spans the globe. His first book, Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking, has sold over 12 million copies, remains a global bestseller, and has been published in more than 40 different languages.
Allen Carr’s Easyway method has been successfully applied to various issues, including sugar addiction, alcohol, debt, and other addictions.
Carr teaches that smokers do not receive a boost from smoking a cigarette. Smoking only relieves the withdrawal symptoms from the previous cigarette, which in turn creates more withdrawal symptoms once it is finished. In this way, drug addiction perpetuates itself. He asserted that the "relief" smokers feel on lighting a cigarette, the feeling of being "back to normal," is the feeling experienced by non-smokers all the time.
So smokers, when they light a cigarette, are trying to achieve a state that non-smokers enjoy their whole lives. He further asserted that withdrawal symptoms are created by doubt and fear in the mind of the ex-smoker. Therefore, stopping smoking is not as traumatic as is commonly assumed if that doubt and fear can be removed.
At Allen Carr Clinics, smokers are allowed to continue smoking during stop-smoking sessions. At the same time, their doubts and fears are removed, with the aim of encouraging and developing the mindset of a non-smoker before the final cigarette is extinguished.
A further reason for allowing smokers to smoke while undergoing counseling is Carr's belief that it is more difficult to convince a smoker to stop until they understand the mechanism of "the nicotine trap." This is because their attention is diminished while they continue to believe it is traumatic and extremely difficult to quit and continue to maintain the belief that they are dependent on nicotine. Another assertion unique to Carr's method is that willpower is not required to stop smoking.
His contention was that fear of "giving up" is what causes the majority of smokers to continue smoking, thereby necessitating the smoker's perpetuation of the illusion of genuine enjoyment as a moral justification of the inherent absurdity of smoking in the face of overwhelming medical and scientific evidence of its dangers. Instead, he encourages smokers to think of the act of quitting not as giving up but as "escaping."