It's fun when you tell people you are writing a book. Their reaction is almost always positive and encouraging – writing a book is seen as a worthwhile thing to do. Books are generally interesting, creative and hopefully hook you in to another world for a period of time.

There might also be some excitement that someone they know is writing a book. Or that someone they know actually has something to write about. It's not common for most people to personally know an author.

But when you then tell them that the book is about cigarette smoking and how to stop, the reactions become interesting. While some express genuine interest and others simply don't want to know about it (for the obvious reason), many suddenly get this blank look on their faces, a look almost of disappointment. It's as if they are trying to work out why someone would be writing another stop-smoking book, that surely there are enough out there already, that it's all been written and said before.

It is a valid question. Why is someone writing another stop-smoking book? Surely it has all been written and said before. This is a question I would like to address, because there have indeed been many books written on this subject. Some people will have read those books and been able to stop; others will have read them and continued to smoke. Perhaps the majority will have stopped for a period of time, only to start again. Many of you who are reading this book now will have read other books, and I'm guessing if you are here reading this, then you are among the number for whom those books were ultimately unsuccessful.

Why should this book be any different? I am very conscious of not wanting to walk down a well-trodden path, and simply regurgitate what is already out in the public domain. I also have no desire to write a book designed simply to scare people into stopping by pointing out and reinforcing all the dangerous health and life implications of cigarettes – although they are most certainly mentioned, for they are part of the smoking story.

And it is a story. As we shall see, each person's smoking represents a story in their life. There are patterns and associations, causes and effects, questions and answers. They all contribute to a story – your story. This book will explore your smoking story in great detail, so that by the end, your understanding of it will form the foundation upon which you can build your life as a new non-smoker.

A simple and stress-free approach

It is important to state up-front that this book is not intended to convince people to stop smoking cigarettes. There is enough literature and information already available seeking to motivate people to quit. While readers will almost certainly find additional motivation for quitting through reading this book, its purpose ultimately is not as a motivational tool. Rather, it is to help those who have already decided that they have reached a point in their lives where they are truly ready, right now, to quit smoking – for good.

There are numerous organisations all over the world that do tremendous work in helping people to quit smoking. Some people are successful, others not. There is a saying that there is no one way to enlightenment. Similarly, there is no one way to quit smoking. Different strategies work for different people.

This book is not the answer to becoming a non-smoker; it is not the only way. It is an answer, one way, to sit beside the other answers already out there. It provides an alternative for those who, for whatever reason, have been unable to quit through other means, including those who stopped for a period of time and then started smoking again. Ultimately, they too were unsuccessful. It provides a simple and stress-free approach to help you let go of cigarettes forever. At the end of the day, though, it doesn't matter how one quits, as long as one quits. I trust that this book will work for you.

When a smoker is able to see the whole story, ultimate and complete release from tobacco is possible. Quit for Life brings to light the full story of cigarette smoking. It presents a new angle, one that hasn't yet entered into the wider public consciousness. When it does, it has the potential to change the smoking landscape forever.

I believe that quitting cigarettes doesn't need to be the difficult, stressful exercise that so many find it to be. I have spoken with hundreds of ex-smokers, some of whom have not smoked for years. It amazes me how many say that they still get strong urges to smoke, that it is a constant battle to stay smoke-free. My heart goes out to these people, having to face this ongoing challenge, this stress, month after month, year after year.

That is what quitting is for many people: like banging their heads against a wall, a continuous struggle, constantly having to fight the desire to smoke. How stressful must that be? And how much damage are they causing themselves living with that stress, day in, day out?

But it doesn't have to be like that. Stopping smoking doesn't have to be difficult, it doesn't need to cause stress, and it doesn't need to result in a bruised forehead and constant headache. There is a way to stop smoking that is free of stress, simple and permanent.

This is what I wish to get into the public awareness, and it is my reason for writing this book. I have kept this book as simple as possible. It is not overly scientific or complicated, although reference is made to current research and statistics.

There are many people who really want to stop smoking cigarettes but do not know how. This book is for them. It is to help those people who are ready to take that step to become non-smokers forever. But it is not just about becoming a non-smoker. It is as much about becoming a non-smoker who has let go of all attachment to cigarettes, so that there is no ongoing stress, craving or desire to smoke. To be a happy non-smoker, comfortable and content in your new life, freed on all levels from any hold that cigarettes may have had on you. Forever.
Extract from the book, Quit for Life, by Jamie Mushin, published by Penguin, $19.95.