The man behind the Easyway to Stop Smoking method
Allen Carr was born into a working class family in London, England in 1934. An athlete and avid anti-smoker as a child, he started smoking while doing National Service in 1952. By the time he qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1958, he was a chain smoker. As Allen said in his biography: “On a bad day I smoked five packs, and never less than three.”
In addition to his chain smoking Allen was, by his own description, a ‘serial quitter’. He found quitting tough, but staying quit even tougher. “I once lasted six months of sheer hell before I caved in and lit up” he said. “I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried like a baby. I was crying because I felt I was condemned to smoke for the rest of my life.”
Shortly after this traumatic incident, a combination of events led to what he described as “my Eureka! moment”.
“I realised that it wasn’t a weakness in me, or that the cigarette was so wonderful that I couldn’t live without it, but that my brain had become scammed into seeing the relief of withdrawal pangs as genuine pleasure or stress relief. I realized that the reason I smoked was to remove the symptoms of withdrawal and by so doing, I got to feel like a non-smoker for a few minutes. As soon as I understood this simple point, my desire to smoke disappeared and I have never smoked since. After years of struggle, quitting was truly effortless and, if I’m honest, extremely enjoyable.”
He founded the first Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking centre in Wimbledon, England in 1983 and spent the next 25 years of his life teaching smokers how to quit easily using his simple, drug-free approach. Today there are more than 150 Allen Carr’s Easyway seminar locations in 50 countries.
In July 2006 Allen was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer and died peacefully in his sleep on 29th November 2006.
Thousands of messages from grateful ex-smokers flooded in and major media, including the BBC, the New York Times, The Economist, Washington Post, Forbes, the British Medical Journal, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Harvard Medical Review, published his obituary. The Economist said it best. Their headline read: “Allen Carr: Saviour of smokers”