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Allen Carr 1934-2006

Country : London, England
Profession : Author
Date of birth : 1934-09-02
Date of death : 2006-11-29
Cause of Death : Cancer

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Allen Carr (2 September 193429 November 2006) was an author of books about quitting smoking. He said he had quit after 31 years as a five-pack-per-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 in 1983, aged 48, after seeing a hypnotherapist. However, Carr claimed that it wasn't the hypnotherapy itself that enabled him to quit, but that the visit crystallised in his mind just how easy it was to stop and so released him to follow an overwhelming desire to explain his method to as many smokers as possible.


Carr teaches that, contrary to their perception, 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 even extinguished. A further reason for allowing smokers to smoke while undergoing counseling, is that Carr believed it was more difficult to convince a smoker to quit, until they understood 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 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. This is because it takes no willpower to stop doing something that an individual has no desire to do, which is the realization smokers come to once their doubt and fear about stopping has gone. When this is combined with the understanding that the actual physical withdrawal from nicotine is so inconsequential as to be minor and therefore almost insignificant, it enables smokers to finally break free. Smokers using willpower who do not come to these realizations, allow the mental "withdrawal" or anguish to overpower them, resulting in physical manifestations (e.g. sweaty palms, panic feelings, irritation, flushes etc.). It is precisely because many smokers believe these symptoms are caused by lack of nicotine (i.e. physical withdrawal) and not by their psychological dependency and feeling of deprivation, that they are not successful at quitting.

His contention was that fear of "giving up" is what causes the majority of smokers to continue smoking, therefore 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.

Carr was very specific and analytical in his use of language. Thus he rarely referred to "giving up smoking" (preferring "stopping smoking") as the very words "giving up" hint at the suggestion that a smoker would be sacrificing something that was worth having; instead of freeing themselves. Such analyses were a cornerstone to his approach to overcoming the "nicotine trap" which was both subtle and pervasive.


Carr left his accountancy job in 1983 and set up his first Easyway clinic to help other addicts. He wrote ten bestsellers including his 1985 hit The Easy Way To Stop Smoking, which topped the non-fiction book charts in nine countries and remains the highest selling book on quitting smoking worldwide. The success of the original London clinic, through 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, Carr's clinics claim a 90 percent success rate in helping smokers stop. Celebrity clients include Richard Branson, Anthony Hopkins, Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears, Ellen DeGeneres, and Charlotte Church.

EasyWay has now been released for Nintendo DS and iPod Touch / iPhone

All Allen Carr's Clinics are run by dedicated therapists who were once smokers and used Allen's method to quit smoking. All therapists are Members of the Association of Allen Carr Therapists International (MAACTI).

Carr also wrote a number of other How to books, on subjects such as losing weight and controlling alcohol consumption. The combined publishing effort and global clinic network built him a £120 million fortune.

Personal life

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 as a result of his lung cancer on 29 November 2006 at his home near Málaga, Spain.

Allen Carr was survived by his second wife, Joyce, his four children, two stepchildren, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.


  • The Easy Way to Stop Smoking
  • 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
  • Scandal
  • Burning Ambition