2 September 1934
|Died||29 November 2006
Benalmádena, Málaga, Spain
|Notable works||The Easy Way to Stop Smoking (1985)|
Allen Carr (2 September 1934, London – 29 November 2006, Benalmádena) was a British author of books about quitting smoking and other psychological dependencies including alcohol addiction. He quit smoking after 30 years as a hundred-a-day chain smoker.
London-born Carr started smoking while doing National Service aged 18. He qualified as an accountant in 1958. Carr finally quit smoking on 15 July 1983, aged 48, after a visit to a hypnotherapist. However, it wasn't the hypnotherapy itself that enabled him to quit – "I succeeded in spite of and not because of that visit" and "I lit up the moment I left the clinic and made my way home...". There were two key pieces of information that enabled Allen to quit later that day. First, the hypnotherapist told him smoking was "just nicotine addiction", which Allen had never perceived before that moment, i.e. that he was an addict. Second, his son John lent him a medical handbook which explained that the physical withdrawal from nicotine is just like an "empty, insecure feeling". He claims that these two realisations crystallised in his mind just how easy it was to stop and so then enabled him to follow an overwhelming desire to explain his method to as many smokers as possible.
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 the 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 that smokers, when they light a cigarette are really trying to achieve a state that non-smokers enjoy their whole lives. He further asserted that withdrawal symptoms are actually created by doubt and fear in the mind of the ex-smoker, and therefore that stopping smoking is not as traumatic as is commonly assumed, if that doubt and fear can be removed.
At Allen Carr Clinics during quit-smoking sessions, smokers are allowed to continue smoking while 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 quit 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 quit 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".
Carr left his accountancy job in 1983 and set up his first Easyway clinic to charge other addicts for advice. He wrote ten books which appeared as bestsellers on selected book ranking charts including his first book The Easy Way to Stop Smoking (1985), The success of the original London clinic, through financial gain , word-of-mouth and direct recommendation, has led to a worldwide network of 100 Easyway clinics in 35 countries plus the production of audio CDs and DVDs. Based on their full money-back guarantee (which requires 2 follow-up sessions without reimbursement of travel costs), Carr's clinics claim 90% success rate in aiding smokers to stop for three months, and 51% percent success rate in helping smokers stop for 12 months based on an independent study not connected with any health organisation. Celebrity clients include Richard Branson, Anthony Hopkins, Ashton Kutcher, Ellen DeGeneres, Pink, Jason Mraz, Charlotte Church and Hrithik Roshan which aids the organisations efforts to expand commercially.
Allen Carr's Clinics are run by therapists who have claimed they were once smokers and have used Allen's method to quit smoking. All therapists are Members of an association created by the Allen Carr multi-million pound enterprise known as the Allen Carr Therapists International (ACTI). ACTI is not accredited by any public health organisation or the NHS.
In late July 2006 it was revealed that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 71. The following month he revealed that it was terminal and his life expectancy was about nine months. Carr said: "Since I smoked my final cigarette, 23 years ago, I have been the happiest man in the world. I still feel the same way today.” Carr wrote to Tony Blair, urging the UK Government and NHS to accept his method, saying that the "powerful influence" of lobbyists working for nicotine replacement firms had turned them against him.
Carr died, at the age of 72, as a result of his lung cancer, on 29 November 2006. He died at his home near Málaga, Spain. He was survived by his second wife, Joyce, his four children, two stepchildren, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
- The Easy Way to Stop Smoking (1985)
- The Easy Way to Stop Drinking
- The Only Way to Stop Smoking Permanently
- Allen Carr's Easy Way for Women to Stop Smoking
- Allen Carr's Easy Way to Control Alcohol
- Allen Carr's Easyweigh to Lose Weight
- The Easy Way to Enjoy Flying
- The Easy Way to Stop Worrying
- Allen Carr's Easy Way to Be Successful
- The Little Book of Quitting
- The Illustrated Easy Way to Stop Smoking
- Burning Ambition
- Allen Carr's How to be a Happy Non-smoker
- Good Sugar Bad Sugar
- "Allen Carr dies from lung cancer". BBC. 29 November 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
- Allen Carr, "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking", January 2005
- Packing it in the Easy Way pp. 110–116, Penguin, 2005
- The Only Way To Stop Smoking Permanently page 8, Penguin, 1995
- "How the clinics work". Alan Carr.
- Allen Carr's Easyway: Celebrity Endorsements
- "Allen Carr fighting lung cancer". BBC. 30 July 2006. Retrieved 2006-07-30.
- "Quit smoking guru Allen Carr: 'I have nine months to live'". Daily Mail. 14 August 2006. Retrieved 2012-05-29.