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Hello, I'm Mark Whalen. This is the story of how the internationally best-selling book, How to Quit Smoking Without Willpower or Struggle, came to be.

Thirty-five or so years ago, about 1970 I believe, I heard on a radio news show that Joe Pyne had died of complications due to lung cancer. Joe was a Korean War hero who'd lost a leg in service (if memory serves.). He was my favorite television talk-show host of the sixties.

That was the first time I realized that I must quit smoking, and began my first failed attempt to do so simply by exerting willpower. I was about twenty-five years old, and had been smoking for almost twelve years by then...perhaps a pack a day on average since I'd quit school at sixteen.

I remember that effort lasting perhaps the rest of the day.

I tried again about two years later. But whenever I went to my favorite beer bar to play pool as I so loved to do, I had serious trouble concentrating on anything but the cigarettes being smoked around me. So I made a deal with myself. I would only smoke while drinking beer and playing pool.

I think it was less than a week later that I realized that I had smoked my second cigarette, lit from the butt of my first, and had not put a quarter up for a game of pool, and had not even tasted the beer getting warm in front of me. Worse, I realized that instead of hanging at the bar my usual two or three nights a week, I'd been there every single night since I'd made that deal with myself. I went home and continued to smoke.

The third effort only lasted one more day. I realized that I could not quit by using simple willpower if my wife refused to join me in the quit. Her smoking next to me was driving me crazy. By the end of that day, with her constant refusal to even try, I joined her.

In 1973 I became a "Stage Hypnotist" in nightclubs, and joined the staff of Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Los Angeles, California, as a Clinical Hypno-therapist . There I was Certified as a Master Hypnotist (CMH). I became a Charter Member of the American Hypnosis Association, and member of the AFL-CIO Hypnotist's Union. I specialized in helping people to quit smoking. But I was still smoking myself, as were most of the others on staff.

What was wrong with that picture?

All my life, from my earliest memories when I completed first and second elementary school grades in one year, I've been told that I have an extremely high I.Q. I'm supposed to be "smart". This I have found to have been far more of a burden in my life than a gift or asset. This fifty years later, since my debut as Doogie Hauser, being "smart" hasn't seemed to have been reflected in my income or lifestyle. It certainly has not contributed to my emotional stability or personal happiness. As the late Charles Shultz's character, Snoopy, once sighed as he gazed into the heavens from the top of his dog house, "The heaviest burden in life is a great potential." Of course since then I have come to understand quite clearly is that to be truly smart means to be truly happy doing what one loves to do, and being compensated for that pleasure. It has nothing whatsoever to do with how right or fast you can test on paper. Otherwise, wouldn't every single Jeopardy champion and Mensa member be a very happy millionaire? But I digress.

So what has this got to do with smoking, you may ask.

I had this thought one day in about 1974, when I was making new personal resolutions for myself, now that I was single again. The thought was this: If I am so smart, shouldn't I be able to figure out how to quit smoking? And do it without using any willpower? An easy way out?

In those days there was no Zyban, patches, or Nicorette, or even much of today's consciousness about quitting smoking. People who were struggling to quit were frequently the butt of television sitcom jokes. (Come to think of it, they still are. But why isn't heroin addiction just as funny? It kills far less people, and usually in a far quicker and more gentle way. Not that I would ever try it!)

So for the next few years I started thinking more and more about my habit/addiction. Together with what I knew about hypnosis, and what I'd learned about human behavior from the clinical point of view, and from consciously observing my own behavior with regard to smoking, I began to develop little behaviors that I did along with my smoking. What I knew I could NOT do was deny myself a cigarette when I had the urge. I believed that, no matter how hard I tried, or how long I held out, eventually I would start to smoke again.

So I had to find a way not to want to smoke. Not just to know in my mind it was wrong, but to know it in my body as well. I wanted to reverse the desire from craving to not craving. I wanted and needed to figure out a way not to care about smoking any longer. Not even to think about it.

I knew from my experience as a clinical hypno-therapist that just getting someone to "act out" the desired behavior doesn't change them inside, where it really counts. Eventually, almost all will revert. All that kind of hypnotic suggestion leads to is building a new habit of denying the old habit. Two internal subconscious forces in opposition. Tends to make one rather tense, and most begin to sublimate with food, nail-biting, etc. Certainly, most get far more short-tempered. I know I did.

I knew I had to "mess" with my habit, disturb it. Interrupt it. Trick it. I had to get myself into a position where I just did not want to smoke. Not because I knew I shouldn't, but simply because I didn't have any desire to smoke any longer.

On January 2, 1979, at about 10:00 p.m., in a beer bar in Reseda, CA, after not having an urge to smoke for perhaps a month or more, I picked up a cigarette and took two drags from it. I started to cough and get nauseated, the way I did when I very first seriously started to smoke at fourteen.

I looked at the cigarette, and then at myself in the bar mirror and realized...I had DONE IT! After nearly two decades of living almost daily with a smoke at hand,  I did not want that cigarette and have never wanted one again. I was no longer a smoker!

And I did it without willpower or struggle. Or patches or pills or shots or gum or vitamins or herbs or any device whatsoever. I just figured it out. I "unlearned" how to smoke.

In 1996, my daughter admitted to me that she'd been a smoker for about twenty years and was trying desperately to quit. I told her that I would write down for her  the things I'd done, and how I did them, so that she could do them and quit too.

Each night after work, before dinner, I'd come to my computer and work on this letter to her about how to quit smoking. Finally after perhaps a week of this, my wife said to me, "What are you doing, writing her a book?"

I realized I was. I finished it, formatted it into chapters, designed a simple cover, and had it bound at Kinko's. I made a couple of copies.

I sent it to her, and she used it, and did quit.

I showed my book to a friend, an ex-smoker whom I consider to be very intelligent and insightful. After he read it, he immediately handed me the money to create PresMark Publishing Co., open this website, and begin to share this information with the world.

So for the last ten years, that's what we've been doing here. If you really want to quit for good, and "cold turkey" is as hard to do for you as it was for me, and the pills or patches don't help much, buy my book, read it, and use it. If you decide you don't like it during the first month, send it back. I'll give you your money back (less shipping). If you use it fully and consistently and are still smoking next year, I'll give you your money back, including shipping...TRIPLE! (See Guarantee.)
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Mark Whalen

Now here's a list of the places where this book is being used. >>>

 

August, 2006
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