Who should you believe on what is the most successful technique for quitting smoking-the government and most smoking cessation experts in the world and the professional health organizations of the world and the pharmacological industry and almost any one whose career seems to be based in smoking cessation or me? I guess using this standard it would be best not to believe me. But before jumping ship there is one other important group of people that you may find that will back me up and who are already quite credible to you. It's the people in your family and your friends in your real world who have successfully quit smoking and are off all nicotine products for at least one year or longer.
Find out how the people you know who are long-term ex-smokers actually stopped smoking. By long-term I mean people who are currently off all nicotine for at least a year or longer. You will see most of them never heard of me. You will see that many of them had previous quits that did not take, using all sorts of professional help and advice in those quits. You will find that the vast majority of these people (and I do mean the vast majority) did not follow what is considered the standard recommended advice or the how to quit guidelines by the world professionals on the quit that actually took and is still on going. They in fact most likely quit by stopping smoking one day for one reason or another and then have been able to stay off by still knowing at least to this point in time to never take a puff.
Talk to every long-term ex-smoker you know. Do your own surveys. While you are at it, talk to the current smokers you know too. See how many of them have used the products and followed the advice of the professionals. Try to find one of them who once had quit but are now smokers again who didn't take a puff. Finding one person like this is going to take you the rest of your life. Find out how many of the current smokers you know once had quit and actually had months, years or decades of not smoking behind them, only to lose those quits by following the advice of professionals who said things like, "Don't let a slip make you go back to smoking."
Pretty soon you will see it is not a matter of pitting me against the rest of the world professionals. It becomes a matter of pitting every long-term smoker you know who has successfully quit against the world professionals. Do the surveys and then I will just become another voice in the crowd of real people who have proven to you how to quit smoking and how to stay smoke free.
Below is a paragraph of a letter I sent to John in June of 2000:
"It's like seeing a published story come out that a specific pill prevents colds in 100% of the cases in human trials. Then another study verifies it. In fact, every expert in the world comes out and says colds no longer exist--the pill has eradicated them. But most people I knew who took this miracle pill still got colds. Worse than that, I took the pill myself and all my friends on the pill kept giving the cold to me. Pretty soon I would dismiss those studies and no matter how many times I see it I would not believe it. Sooner or later you have to believe your eyes, ears, basically, your own instincts more than expert opinion."
I guess I should point out one other fact that I could use in the defense of my views. I have seen people use the argument of who should they believe, me of the Surgeon General of the United States. I somehow get the idea that people think that the Surgeon General is a person who has gone through years and decades of working with nicotine addicts. That somehow being an expert in smoking cessation is a prerequisite of being the Surgeon General.
I have been running Stop Smoking Clinics since 1976. Back in 1976 I told my second group that they were nicotine addicts. If the people in my clinics were skeptical and wrote the Surgeon General at the time if it were true that nicotine is a drug addiction he would have said no it was not. It was clearly spelled out in the 1964 Surgeon General's Report that cigarette smoking was not an addiction. In the report of the Surgeon General back in 1979 the Surgeon General was starting to say that maybe it was an addiction, but still had put the emphasis on the habit of smoking being the primary problem. In 1988 the Surgeon General finally put out a report stating once and for all that nicotine was an addictive substance.
In all of the programs I did from 1976 through 1987 I was constantly criticized and attacked for saying that cigarette smokers were drug addicts. I was wrong all that time because the Surgeon General said I was wrong. But today I am no longer wrong on this fact.
So I think I am going to just take a wait and see attitude on what the Surgeon General ten years from now or twenty years from now will say is the most effective way to quit smoking. Maybe he or she will have come around to my way of thinking by then, maybe not. But I know one thing for sure. That all of the people who decided to go along with my way of thinking, and follow my advice on how to quit, and then stay committed in the interim to the advice that I have given them to remain smoke free, that they will all still be ex-smokers. Considering my advice that still seems to be controversial today is simply that to quit smoking and stay smoke free is no more complicated than just knowing to never take another puff!