My name is Isabella, I’m a smoker and have just been diagnosed with pulmonary emphysema. Help!

I always thought I’d quit if it made me ill — but now I’m scared that I cannot.

John C. Dicey
4 min readJun 2, 2021

For more than 35 years we’ve received requests for advice by letter, email, and postcard from all over the world. We’ve answered every single one of them, and continue to do so with pleasure. I’ve undertaken to publish as many replies as I can in the hope that it will help even more people to freedom. Real-life questions from struggling smokers.

Hi John,

My name is Isabella, I’m a smoker and have just been diagnosed with pulmonary emphysema. Help! I’m from Chile and I am reading the book, Allen Carr’s Easyway to Quit Smoking. My diagnosis of having emphysema is a shock and I need to get better because my 3 year old daughter needs me! I am sure that I will succeed. Isabella, Santiago, Chile

Hey Isabella!

Well done for reaching out — I’m so pleased that you did. Every little piece of advice you can obtain from us will help to ensure your success and I have some great guidance for you.

Firstly, I’m very sorry to hear about your diagnosis. As former chain-smoker myself I can imagine how you must feel. I lived every day of my life as a smoker waiting for such consequences (or worse).

The wonderful news for you is that when you quit smoking you will stop the emphysema in its tracks. As you know — it is not possible to reverse the disease but by quitting smoking you can slow it down and stop it from getting worse. This means that the future is super-bright for you and your daughter.

Your positive approach is wonderful. You are confident of your success and with Allen Carr’s Easyway to Quit Smoking book (USA/Canada, UK, Rest of the World), online video programme, or live group seminar — you are right to be so.

One thing I would say is that although it’s natural to attempt to use your fear of the disease and your worry about “being there” for your daughter as motivating reasons to quit, I would ask you not to use those factors as your motivation.

Surprisingly those kind of motivations tend to be counter-productive & ineffective as they act as a form of negative pressure.

Negative pressure presents itself as, “I mustn’t/can’t smoke because of the disease”, or, “I HAVE to quit because I don’t wish to abandon my daughter”, or “If I don’t succeed terrible things will occur”.

Can you see how those valuable and worthwhile sentiments suddenly create pressure? When a smoker experiences pressure — what is the first thing that they do? They reach for a cigarette. Our belief is that the cigarette will make things better…as smokers we’re completely unaware that the sense of relief a smoker experiences at those times is phoney & fake — like a confidence trick or hustle.

Rather than using the disease or the thought of your daughter as your motivation to succeed in quitting — I would ask you (in the nicest possible way) to ignore those factors in the first instance.

Instead, I want you to quit smoking for one very special, very personal, very selfish reason: that you will simply enjoy your life so much more as a happy non-smoker.

Allen Carr’s Easyway explains how that seemingly far-fetched dream can become your beautiful reality. As a wonderful bonus of what you achieve when you quit smoking — your concern about the disease, your fear of abandoning your daughter — simply drift away leaving you feeling empowered & forever grateful for your freedom.

We have the most amazing team at Allen Carr’s Easyway Chile so please do feel free to contact them direct if you ever need further advice or guidance and don’t forget we are also happy to provide that advice & guidance direct from here (on the above link) if you prefer.

Take care Isabella, you’ve got this!

Best wishes

John at Allen Carr

The name on the “postcard” has been changed to protect the sender’s identify.

Support Link: Anyone reading this piece, experiencing similar (or entirely different) issues with stopping smoking can obtain free of charge advice from us via the following link. To obtain that guidance select SUPPORT on the link below. You’ll then get to fill out a short questionnaire about your experience with the method — and based on that — a senior Allen Carr Therapist will provide you with bespoke, detailed, free of charge advice on how to get the method to gel for you.

From the desk John C. Dicey, London, England.

Press & Media

See more “Postcards from the Edge” — click below:

#1. My husband got mean when he quit & secret smoking

#2. I smoke when I’m bored

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John C. Dicey

Former 80-a-day smoker who was freed by Allen Carr. Now Global CEO & Senior Therapist at Allen Carr’s Easyway (since 1998) & co-author of Allen Carr books.