Quick Links

  • How it Works

    How it works

    Easyway focuses on why you continue to smoke in spite of the obvious disadvantages and removes the desire to smoke. One five hour seminar is all it usually takes.
    read more

  • Session dates and bookings


    Seminars are held throughout New Zealand. Return workplace seminars can be arranged on application.
    Read more about up-coming seminars…

  • Ask us a Question

    Ask us a Question

    All facilitators of Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking were once heavy smokers who escaped their addiction to cigarettes through the Easyway Programme. Now we want to help you.

  • Why Easyway

    Why Easyway

    Most smokers have already tried to quit and failed. By changing the way you think about smoking we’re able to remove your desire to smoke enabling you to be a happy non-smoker.
    Read more…

Call Us

CALL US NOW ON 0800 848 028

Champix scarier than Iraq

Taking anti-smoking pills was far scarier than dodging bullets and bombs in Iraq

Posted on June 7, 2011in News & Views

Ross Appleyard ditches Champix after suffering dreadful side effects

I stood in the middle of the supermarket aisle, my heart beating wildly. I was looking for a packet of razor blades, but as my eyes frantically scanned the shelves all I could see were blurred images.

‘Calm down,’ I kept telling myself. ‘What is wrong with you?’

I thought I was going to faint, and had to race out of the store in front of other astonished shoppers. Only when I was sitting in my car did my breathing slow down, and my heart stop pumping in my chest. I realised I was experiencing a panic attack – something I had never encountered before.

After all, I had faced bullets and bombs in my career as a war correspondent for 12 years with Sky News, in conflict zones such as Kosovo, Iraq and Sierra Leone. I could always keep a cool head, and thrived on the adrenaline rush.

Yet now I had all but collapsed trying to buy a packet of razor blades.

For the past six weeks I had been taking the anti-smoking drug Champix and I was experiencing an escalating series of side effects that were making me extremely alarmed. I was prescribed the medicine – one pill per day, usually for 12 weeks – at my GP’s surgery.

At the age of 50 and having smoked since the age of 17, I was desperate to kick my 40-a-day cigarette habit.

The drug stopped me smoking but the pills triggered violent nightmares, hallucinations and mood swings.

Champix is now one of the most popular anti-smoking drugs in the UK

During the day, I started having hot flushes, suffered extreme feelings of lethargy and had the curious sensation that an unseen hand was gripping my throat and pressing on my chest.

I began suffering night sweats and subsequent exhaustion. I couldn’t concentrate – it was as if I was losing my short-term memory.

I’ve always been a positive, happy person but I was also feeling depressed and morbid.

My wife, Diana, 49, a writer, and daughters Beth, 23, and Charlotte, 17, were very concerned – I couldn’t sit still and I’d also started making odd involuntary noises.

At first I believed I was suffering symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. But most studies suggest the anxiety, headaches, irritability and fatigue that can arise from stopping smoking cease after about two weeks.

Nicotine leaves the brain after around 40 minutes, and residual amounts stay in the body for up to 14 days. But after a month, I felt something was wrong.

When first launched in the UK in 2006, Champix was hailed as a wonder drug to wean long-term smokers off their nicotine habit, successful in at least half of all cases.

The active ingredient, varenicline, works by interfering with the receptors in the brain that nicotine stimulates. This mimics the pleasurable effect that nicotine has on the brain, which reduces cravings and withdrawal effects when you stop smoking.

Distributed by the drug giant Pfizer, Champix is now one of the most popular anti-smoking drugs, currently taken by about 200,000 people in the UK.


Carole Caplin

“For the past 20 years or so, I’ve been sending clients wishing to stop smoking to the clinics run by...

Carole Caplin
read more
Gianluca Vialli

“I stopped with an Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking Seminar. I wanted to feel free, not a slave to...

Gianluca Vialli
read more
Emma Freud

“A friend of mine went to see a therapist and stopped easily… then three more friends went, they experienced no...

Emma Freud
read more


Book Online for next session Seminars are held throughout New Zealand.
Return workplace seminars can be arranged on application. Read more about up-coming seminars…


book Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking, sells more than all other quit smoking books combined. The reason is obvious-it works!
read more


Allen Carr On July 15, 1983, Allen Carr-successful accountant and chain smoker-went from 100 cigarettes a day to zero. It happened instantly, painlessly and permanently. Now, his quit smoking method is available to you…
read more

Back to Top