The main character, Richard "Dick" Morrison, is a middle-aged man who smokes. One day he has a chance meeting with his old college roommate Jim McCann who advises him to go to Quitters, Inc., the firm that he says helped him kick the habit. The firm is said to have a 98% success rate with their clients and guarantees that once the person has enrolled for treatment, he will never smoke again. Dick at first forgets about the referral, but after a month passes and work is going horribly, Dick decides to go to Quitters, Inc. out of curiosity. There he's introduced to a man named Victor Donatti, who will be his quitting counselor. Donatti begins by telling the history of Quitters, Inc., saying it was founded by a New Jersey mob boss who had been a heavy smoker and realized before his death of lung cancer that he must aid others in quitting. Donatti says they are serious in their desire to help others be cured of tobacco addiction, despite their shady history. The following day, Donatti states to Morrison that they have found out all the relevant information about his family, which shocks Morrison, in particular the information about his mentally impaired son.
Dick is first told of what will happen; that for the first twelve months he will have round-the-clock surveillance on him at all times to ensure he is not smoking, with the watchers immediately reporting back to Donatti if they see Morrison smoking. After a second twelve months, the surveillance would be reduced to 18 hours a day, but you will never know which eighteen. After one year of being in Quitters, Inc. from then on, Morrison's surveillance would be reduced to random surveillance checks for the remainder of his life. Dick then finds out about the brutal enforcement methods used by Quitters, Inc. from Donatti. These include administering non-fatal electric shocks of increasing intensity to his wife if he is caught smoking a cigarette and a second infraction would put Morrison in the shock room. A fourth infraction would involve beatings being administered to his son, and subsequent infractions would result in more trips to the shock room with higher voltage, and more painful beatings of his son and wife. Donatti also reveals that after the ninth infraction, his son's arms would be broken. Finally, if Dick commits a tenth infraction, Donatti says, placing a gun on his desk, Dick would become part of "the unregenerate two percent". "But even the unregenerate 2% never smoke again. We guarantee it."
With some difficulty, Dick is able to quit, after only one slip, which results in his wife Cindy being abducted and shocked. Dick, however, now must deal with other aspects of the firm's strict methods, this being that Dick has gained weight and that is an issue Quitters, Inc. deals with as well. Donatti uses the Mafia connections to obtain some prohibited diet pills for Dick, and sets a target weight for him to adhere to. Should Dick stray from this goal, then his wife's right pinky finger will be cut off. Morrison faithfully exercises and keeps in shape, also giving the Quitters Inc. business card to a barfly with a smoking addiction, echoing what Jim McCann did to Morrison at the start of the story. The story ends where Dick and Cindy have a chance meeting with the McCann's, and Dick learns that Jim McCann had drifted from the weight standards of Quitters, Inc. as his wife is missing her pinky finger.