Allen Carr (2 September 1934 – 29 November 2006) was most notable as the author of books on how to stop smoking (having stopped smoking after 31 years as a five-pack-per-day chain smoker) and, as he stressed, escape nicotine addiction.
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 counselling, 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 Allen 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 Sir Richard Branson, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears and Charlotte Church.
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.
Allen Carr is survived by his second wife, Joyce, his four children, two stepchildren, 11 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.