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The Growing Worldwide Quit Smoking Team – North America

September 2011

From the desk of John Dicey, Worldwide Director, Allen Carr’s Easyway

We are so lucky to have an amazing array of highly motivated, dedicated, and hugely capable people within Allen Carr’s Easyway organisation across the world. People are often surprised to hear how our global team has been assembled and this is the first instalment of a series of features that look at the various journeys “Allen Carr people” have taken; from being some of the most prolific smokers on the planet to becoming happy non-smokers and world-leading experts on quitting smoking.

Damian O’Hara, Allen Carr’s Easyway North America writes:

I had my first cigarette as a nine year-old, to try to impress one of my older brother’s friends. That first cigarette was truly disgusting, but it didn’t quit me from becoming a heavy smoker for twenty-six years.

I was what we call a ‘serial quitter’. Most of my attempts lasted just a couple of minutes before I had a ‘nic fit’, caved in and lit a cigarette. Things became so bad that I almost gave up trying to quit smoking.

Then in January 2001 I suffered a bout of tonsillitis. I couldn’t eat, talk, breathe or swallow, let alone smoke. For the first time in over twenty years, I went a whole day without smoking.
I made the mistake of mentioning this to my wife who promptly suggested that I attend an Allen Carr’s Easyway seminar. She had quit back in 1992, just before we met, by reading the first edition of Allen Carr’s bestselling book, The Easy Way to Quit Smoking. Being the wonderful person she is, she never tried to hassle me into quitting smoking. But she knew that one day I would be ready to quit and I will forever be in her debt for suggesting that I attend the seminar. I can only think that the pain meds slightly scrambled my thinking, and I agreed to go.

At one o’clock on February 21st 2001 I found myself sitting in Allen Carr’s Easyway To Quit Smoking Center in London along with seventeen other terrified smokers. I could barely see Cris, the facilitator, through the blue fog of smoke (in those days attendees were able to smoke throughout the session, today, due to smoking by-laws, the sessions now feature regular smoke breaks). I think everyone in the room expected to be trying to “quit” smoking rather than be released from it.

Five minutes into the session I remember thinking ‘If I’m stuck in this room for the next five hours, I may as well listen to what these guys have to say.’

I listened to Cris talk about smoking, about quitting and about nicotine. There were no scare tactics, no pictures of diseased lungs and no guilt trips. Despite thinking that I already knew everything there was to know about smoking, many of the concepts he explained were completely new to me – I had just never really thought about smoking this way before. I found myself agreeing with everything he said. As the day wore on, I found my desire to smoke faded. By the time Cris instructed us to smoke our final cigarette, I could barely light it.

The evening passed without a problem and the following morning I didn’t even think about smoking. Lighting a cigarette didn’t even occur to me. I was stunned. Smoking had gone from being the center of my life to being a total irrelevance in just five hours. I couldn’t believe it, and neither could my family, my friends and colleagues.

The changes in my life came thick and fast. I felt truly free and truly happy for the first time in years. I had more energy, I lost weight. I was able to concentrate longer and harder.

Instead of looking for excuses to be away from my family so I could smoke, I felt re-engaged with them. It was fantastic.

Three months after attending, I wrote to Allen to thank him for helping me escape and to offer my help in spreading the word internationally. In September 2001, I was proud to be chosen to represent Allen Carr’s Easyway in Canada, a role that was extended in 2005 to encompass the United States also. It is such a privilege to be able to share Allen’s simple, drug-free method with smokers in North America.

For more information about quitting smoking click on your country’s flag on

If you found it easy to quit smoking maybe you could help to spread the word?

Is there someone you want to help quit smoking? If they mention this feature when they book they can obtain a 10% discount at any Allen Carr’s Easyway To Quit Smoking Center in the world (not valid in conjunction with any other offer or promotion).