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“Sometimes we stole cigarettes from my friend’s grandfather and ran to the forest and we smoked them. Can you imagine we were only 5 or 6 years old!”

Written by and Colleen Dwyer | Last Updated 24 January 2017

“Sometimes we stole cigarettes from my friend’s grandfather and ran to the forest and we smoked them. Can you imagine we were only 5 or 6 years old!”

John Dicey, Worldwide CEO & Senior Therapist, Allen Carr’s Easyway, interviews Janne StrÖm, Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking Finland

John: So Janne, how did you come to start smoking?

Janne: When I was five or six years old, I use to play in old rusty car wrecks with my friend. We put wooden sticks in our mouth, because that’s what adults did when they were driving; they smoked.

Sometimes we stole cigarettes from my friend’s grandfather and ran to the forest and we smoked them. Can you imagine we were only five or six years old! We did that a few times in coming years. I didn’t smoke properly for a long time – but I was introduced to smoking very young.

John: So how old were you when you picked up cigarettes again?

Janne: It happened when I was 12 or 13 – along with two school mates we snuck off and smoked a cigarette that my friend had. That was the first time I inhaled nicotine. Soon we were buying our own packs, even back then you had to be 16 to buy them, but always there was at least one kiosk where they sold cigarettes to youngsters. Soon I couldn’t do anything if I didn’t have cigarettes with me. I was miserable without cigarettes.

They were my courage, ego, and self-confidence. I smoked 2-3 packs every single day.

John: Did you try to stop smoking often?

Janne: I tried to get rid of cigarettes so many times. Once I survived about six months without them, but it was so hard. Eventually I made a rule that I could smoke if I was drinking alcohol. and boy I used to drink a lot! Not every day but every weekend and sometimes two days in a row. Friday and Saturday and if I had hangover on Sunday then it was OK to smoke on Sunday also. Well it was OK to smoke on Sunday without hangover too.

Finally, I was back to my old ways and was smoking 2-3 packs every day. I tried to quit every year since 1994 and some years many times.

John: So how did you discover Allen Carr’s Easyway?

Janne: In 2006 I read on a “quit smoking” web forum about Allen Carr’s Easyway book which seemed to be helping lots of people to quit smoking. I started to think “why not?” So I went to buy the book. I started to read it right away and when I read those first few chapters I knew this book would work for me.

While I read the book I also checked Allen Carr’s web pages and noticed they have live seminars also but not in Finland. I knew that if they would have seminars in Finland, I would participate one. So I had to read and I did and I won the battle against nicotine monster. It was so easy that it’s hard to believe. No withdrawal at all.

When I wrote to that web forum where I heard this that I stopped and I will never ever smoke again, two person stood against me and said “You can’t know, because you quit only few hours ago.” But I knew. I knew that I would not smoke even someone pulled gun to my head. I would not smoke anymore. I was and I am free forever. Free after 20 years of smoking.

John: How did you get involved in the organisation?

Janne: Still I kept wondering why they didn’t have seminars in Finland. January 2007 I went back to Allen Carr’s Easyway web pages to look some information and found that Allen had passed away and I was sad about two things. First: my new idol and saviour had died and second: because the boss was dead, seminars will never come to Finland. I wrote condolences to Allen Carr’s Easyway feedback page with my email address and I got answer after few days, which said that Allen Carr’s Easyway seminars can come to Finland, but they need someone from Finland to do it. I got interested but back then my life was a little messy and it was impossible for me then.

I started to organise my life and from time to time I sent email to London office to ask something and telling them that “I’m still here and want/will do this.”

Finally, in Spring 2010 I signed an agreement, undertook the tough training, and in Autumn 2011 I held the first Allen Carr’s Easyway to stop smoking seminar in Finland.

I am so grateful to Allen Carr and the amazing team at the London HQ – they answered my questions and encouraged me to follow my dream of bringing the seminars to Finland.

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