Allen CarrBMJ 2006; 333 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39059.581123.FA (Published 14 December 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:1273
- Michael Day
Allen Carr enjoyed the status of being the world's foremost anti-smoking guru, claiming he had helped millions to kick their deadly habit. Despite this reputation—or perhaps because of it—he remained at odds with the medical profession to the day he died.
In the minds of the public and much of the media, however, his unconventional approach to quitting smoking was accepted as something of a revelation.
Born in 1934 into a working class family in Putney, in south west London, Carr attended local schools before doing national service. He then trained as an accountant with the firm Peat Marwick, qualifying in 1958.
He smoked his first cigarette at the age of 16. By the age of 24 he was smoking 60 a day. Twenty four years later his habit had spiralled out of control to 100 cigarettes a day. And on the morning of 15 July 1983, after a coughing fit so severe his nose bled, Carr wracked his brains on how he could kick the habit that was killing him.
Willpower alone had failed him every time he tried to quit. That night he claimed to have picked up a medical textbook in a desperate attempt to …