Marketing WhyQuit, Joel's Library & Freedom

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

08 Apr 2006, 03:57 #41

Just wishing you luck, John!!! : )
(Don't get run over, you hear? )

Gitte
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Apr 2006, 04:05 #42

Hello Nancy and Annie:

It is an interesting question you pose. Both John and I are out promoting Freedom in many different venues. I have always personally found it much easier to get people interested in promoting the site precisely because of our total lack of financial motive. What we are trying to teach at Freedom is totally against what is being taught in the cessation field. No one can accuse us of taking the unconventional stand we do for financial gain.

Just yesterday I was dealing with one of my local newspapers and a citywide radio station. I also get contacted at times by media from around the country as well as from organizations around the world. I think John gets this even more than I do.

It is really much easier for us to convince media contacts that the message we are trying to get out is for the sole purpose of trying to help educate the public. It has always been our reason and will always be the reason we do what we do.

Could we buy a few billboards if we took a donation here and there? Probably. I suspect though we will reach more people in the long run by getting our readers inspired to get the word out about a site that is totally free and just designed to help people to quit smoking. Free marketing tactics can accomplish that goal.

So for anyone reading here who is getting the idea that they should somehow get us money for our work--forget it. We are not seeking funds and we won't take any donation. If you want to give something back, take a little time and try to help a smoker quit in your real world or try to help a new member on the board.

By the way, I copied the financial disclosure statement above from the WhyQuit.com site. It was just brought to my attention that Sal was not yet included in the statement. John must have updated it before Sal came on as an assistant manager at Freedom. For the record, Sal has not received any compensation for her work with us. She has done it for the same reason as all of our other past and present managers. We are all doing what we do because we simply want to help people realize that the way to quit smoking is simply to make and stick with a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Apr 2006, 04:16 #43

Thanks Joel,
I kinda figured that the wonderful work being done here might be in some way threatened by commercialism of any kind.
The genuine concern of all the managers and olbies is proven and emphasized by the fact that all of their efforts are strictly volunteer.
The purity of your intentions is so rare and so precious and we all bless you for it everyday.
guess that means I can't have my t-shirt, huh?? But hey, writing the name of this place in the sand at the beach would be free ..... and appropriate, cause I will be able to afford to get to that beach only because I found this site and quit smoking.
You can bet that I tell everybody who is willing to listen about this great place and will continue to do so.
Thanks again for all that you do.
annie
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Apr 2006, 04:56 #44

You can have a tee shirt or any other item with WhyQuit.com--you will just have to pay for its production yourself. I think there are a number of people who have produced different marketing devices for the site.

I know Joanne has made cards and passed them out letting people know about whyquit.com. I know this because one day I got an email from a woman who had just celebrated her first year smoke free who related to me that she found out about the site from a stranger in a store in the city where Joanne lived letting her know of the site WhyQuit.com.

We have had members donate artwork that can be utilized in making cards or shirts or anything other item that can be used to market the site. All that we ask is that no one is ever charged any money for these items.

We have a couple of other strings that touch on this. I will find them and pop them up in a few minutes.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Apr 2006, 05:18 #45

Here are two other strings that touch on donation issues. I added comments to them regarding this post:

PLEASE NOTE: MSN Sponsored Advertisements Within This Forum
Never Take Another Puff..... the book
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Apr 2006, 05:24 #46

Here is a post I put up back in 2003, although I cannot find the exact string it was in. I saved a copy though in my text editor. It too addresses the donation issue:

Is Freedom a cult?

Back in July a member wrote to us that her husband said we sounded like a cult. I wrote the following post in response. I thought the comments help in a little way to capture how we really try to operate at Freedom.

Actually, I haven't had my work compared to a cult in my actual live clinic experience, although I have seen the accusation made from my Internet presence. Even though I was never accused of it in my live work, to some degree I was always cognizant of the fact that people could view what I was doing as seeming cult like. Much of how I operate is based on the assumption that if I were not careful I could easily be accused of trying to manipulate people I have helped in order to attain some personal gain.

A number of members over time have suggested that we work out some way to charge for participation in our group, or sell our material or encourage donations from our members to our group. It would be easy to do any of these things, but it would easily lead to the appearance that we are pushing our agenda for some sort of personal gain. Our style of operation makes these kind of accusations totally irrelevant. (See Does Joel have any books?, make sure to go back to the third post in that string.)

As far as how to answer your husband's accusation of our cult like status, I went out on the Internet and found a few sites that listed characteristics of a cult. Here is one of the checklists provided by one site, with my explanation as to where Freedom fits in with each critera. There where others that went into a little more religious aspects, but basically, we don't touch issues of religion, politics, and most other lifestyle choices, so these criteria really don't apply to us either.

Joel

Characteristics of a Cult

The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

I actually hope not everyone is focused on the leaders of our group, although as far at to each member having an overzealous, unquestionable commitment of the goals of our group, I hope that are members are guilty of this--considering the goal is for each individual member to save his or her own health and life by staying committed to never take another puff!

The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

Actually, we want each and every member of our group to focus on his or her own quit. Hopefully others around you may eventually take your lead and quit smoking, but there is little we do to influence our members to pull in other people. We basically ask our members to simply set an example that it is possible to live smoke free--not by being members of our group but simply by staying committed to never take another puff!

The group is preoccupied with making money.

Some of these criteria may need a technical explanation of how we are different than a cult, but not this one. We have never made a penny from any of our members and have no future intentions of doing so either. Everything we have is given to our members and our lurkers free of charge, and we do not take donations.

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

We are dealing with combating drug addiction. It is true that we do not want our members questioning or doubting this fact. We could have a hard time defending against this one.

Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

Outside of mentioning deep breathing, I don 't think any of these factors fit our group.

The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth).

As opposed to us telling people how they should live any other aspect of their life, we make it clear that we don't even want to discuss about other aspects of their lives. Our premise is everything you did as a smoker, you can still do as an ex-smoker.

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).

If we could save humanity from smoking we would try--but we can't. As far as having any Messianic beliefs in my work, following my suggestions may keep you out of whatever you consider heaven longer, but only because following our suggestion you are likely to be here on earth longer--considering our only real suggestion is to never take another puff!

The group has a polarized us- versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.

We avoid conflict at all costs. Even our Our Mission Statement spells out we don't want to take on institutes like tobacco companies or other industries who have interests in people continuing to smoke or use nicotine products. We want any person to be able to use our site for help, even if those people work for industries promoting smoking or nicotine.

The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).

Here is one that we can't actually defend against.

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).

All we ask of our members is that they do not take a puff. We also explain that they should not take up other negative behaviors in order not to take a puff. (see "Do whatever it takes to quit smoking")



The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.

Yes we have been known to induce guilt. See I Liked My Other Support Group More

Members' subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group.

If a member's personal goal was to prematurely cripple himself or herself, or to die prematurely, then we are guilty of trying to alter those personal goals. As far as cutting ties with family and friends, we in fact do the opposite. We don't want members spending an inordinate amount of time here at Freedom at the cost of time with their families.

Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.

Same answer as above. In addition, our hope is that by sticking to the commitment to quit smoking, you are buying yourself a whole lot of extra time to spend with family and friends. Living extra years and decades afford people who quit smoking more time and better quality time.

Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members

We don't want our members over socializing with each other or with management. We are an educational site first, a support site second, and as far as a social site, we try to keep general socialization down to a minimum. We want our members to use the time they spend with us in order to secure their ability to be better able to socialize in their real world with their commitment intact to never take another puff.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Apr 2006, 06:29 #47

OK, OK, OK I'm back in box...for now. I completely see your point and completely appreciate it. The free-ness of Freedom enforces and adds to our mission. I do get it. You can't blame me for getting passionate about it. As a Freedom member I pledge:
  • To serve as an example of our sucess.
  • To support and encourage those beginning this journey
  • To educate those around me - as appropriate.
  • To doodle whyquit.com everywhere I legally can. My email signatures, memos I write, speeches I give, take out ads for the local sports teams, church bulletins...
My brain will continue, however to think of free ways to promote whyquit and freedom. Annie, you gave me a new activity to do instead of smoking at the New Jersey shore this summer! Anyone sees whyquit in the sand, it's me. Who knows maybe I'll be in a 2 piece by then - and it'll say whyquit!
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Apr 2006, 07:22 #48

Hey I'm right there with you Nancy, at least up to the point of the two piece! At 57, I've got more bags and sags than the average elephant. Think I'll spare the world the sight of that much of me. Hey, but we could write
whyquit.com in sunblock 45 on some part of our anatomy and tan the rest. OK...just kidding.

Joel, thanks for the answers and the explanations. I think I just might have that t-shirt made since it's ok with you. I go to lots of places where most of the people smoke over the summer. wearing that t-shirt could be a conversation starter that just might do something good.

annie
addicted for 44+ years and quit for 1M 3W 5D 15m 19s 1M 3W 5D 15m 19s (57 days). I have deprived the tobacco companies of $370.07 by not smoking 2,850 cigarettes. I have saved 1W 2D 21h 30m of my life. My Quit Date: 2/9/2006 7:11 PM
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Apr 2006, 09:12 #49

What a treat! I'm so so sorry Sal for neglecting to add you to the conflicts page, please forgive me. It's now on the To Do list. Sorry : (

You cannot begin to imagine how wonderful it has been watching this massive team of amazing givers cause these sites to be daily visited by so many smokers and new quitters. It really is a team effort and almost all who read here (except maybe the closet quitters with a secret to keep) are involved in the forum's growth, in one way or another.

Yes, tee-shirts, bumper stickers and signs that help your community's smokers discover the law of addiction while there's still time is an amazing gift to give but, like Joel says, it must be an individual decision and production.

Each of you have full authority to share what you've learned to or to hand-out our quitting materials on as large or small a scale as you'd like. Regarding the materials we have a couple of rules. There can never be any charge or cost for receiving them, they can't be sold, and basic copyrights must remain in place so that those receiving them down line never attempt to profit from them.

As for Google rankings, one of the primary keys to moving up is in having other Internet sites sharing WhyQuit's link or actually hosting our above banner. The problem is that most will request a link exchange where we put their link and/or banner up at WhyQuit. It that almost all other sites are engaged in selling products or services and cannot do exchanges. We've promised Bryan's, Noni's and Kim's families that we will never allow their stories to be used for commerical purposes and it's a promise that we intend to keep.

By the way, during the first three months of 2006 136,817 copies of "Never Take Another Puff," Joel's free PDF quitting book, were downloaded. It's mind boggling and many of you had a hand in making it happen. Providing quality online recovery tools must always remain a labor of love.

John
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 May 2006, 08:04 #50

I saw where a member wrote John today asking if we would accept a donation to help us continue our work. This string has a series of commentaries addressing this issue. If you read the posts 37 and on you will see how we address this issue and the explanation of why we don't accept any donations for our work at Whyquit.com.

Here is the financial disclaimer we have at www.WhyQuit.com:


Disclosure of Financial or Competing Interests

No person or entity associated with WhyQuit.com, Joel's Library, Freedom from Tobacco or AskJoel has ever accepted any income, fees or financial donation from any source in connection with their online work. All work is volunteer and pro bono. All expenses associated with maintaining and marketing WhyQuit, Joel's Library and Freedom from Tobacco have been paid by staff.

WhyQuit.com does not advertise or market any products or services. All commercial banner advertising at both "Freedom from Tobacco" and "Ask Joel-- free MSN community forums -- is conducted exclusively by MSN. Neither Freedom nor Ask Joel have any control over the products or services advertised by MSN nor has any person associated with Freedom or Ask Joel ever received any form of income from any source including MSN.

Freedom has two current managers, Kristen Dittman and Rick Bailey, and four retired managers, Linda Schwartz, Joel Spitzer, Joanne Diehl and John R. Polito. None of Freedom's current or former managers have ever accepted any compensation or donations for their online work.

Neither Kristen nor Rick have ever accepted any compensation or donations in connection with any aspect of their smoking cessation work.

During Linda's term as manager she was employed as a Cleveland, Ohio, USA pharmacy manager. Part of her mandatory duties include the sale of NRT and tobacco products. Linda was paid a regular salary by the pharmacy and has never accepted any form of income or donations related or tied to the sale of nicotine products.

Joel serves as a smoking prevention and cessation consultant to the Evanston and Skokie, Illinois Health Departments where he conducts full six-session clinics throughout the year, as well as conducting monthly seminars. He is compensated for his services to the Evanston and Skokie Health Departments by each department. The amount of compensation has always been for a flat sum and has never been dependent upon or in any manner tied to the number of participants in attendance, where they resided, or how they found the program.

Joanne has assisted Joel in participant support follow-up associated with his Skokie and Evanston Health Department nicotine cessation programs. At such times Joanne has been compensated for her time by either the health departments or directly by Joel.

John has never accepted any compensation or donations for any online work. John also conducts free bimonthly nicotine cessation seminars on behalf of the College of Charleston's Counseling and Substance Abuse Services in Charleston, SC. In May 2005 the American Cancer Society awarded the College a grant which provided funds to compensate John a modest flat sum for each seminar.
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28 May 2006, 09:29 #51

Marketing World No Tobacco Day 2006
I thought it would be fun to let those interested see a zero dollar WhyQuit marketing effort in action. We're not big-time by any means but we're fun. We've done scores of campaigns over the years, some
successful most not. Today's objective is World No Tobacco Day, just 4 days away. Next to New Years it's probably the planet's biggest quitting day. How could WhyQuit put itself in position to become the unintended Internet destination of a significant percentage of those using search engines in just 4 days?

The U.S. Google search engine today ranks WhyQuit as the #3 "quit smoking" destination (see http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=qu ... gle+Search ) but #92 when "World No Tobacco Day" is searched. The best we can muster at the moment is a 2004 press release entitled World No Tobacco Day 2004 (http://whyquit.com/World_No_Tobacco_Day.html ), which I've just updated to 2006. What are the chances of moving this article to within the top ten by the morning of May 31, 2006? Probably not good but, like you, I love a challenge.

The first step has already been taken. In updating the page and tying it to the top of WhyQuit's main page, it should receive a significant boost when Google's spiders make their next crawl, almost always within 3 days. But linking it to this MSN Freedom message board thread (above) could also get noticed and each time a site other than the originating site has a link to a page it helps move that page up in Google's rankings. I'll also add it to a few other WhyQuit pages tomorrow (What's New, the youth page).

I've also gone to the most recent Yahoo news articles about smoking and nicotine and made brief comments in the discussion thread at the bottom, including the http://whyquit.com/World_No_Tobacco_Day.html link and inviting quitters here on WNTD. I have about a dozen other external sites where I'm very comfortable in sharing our links. I'll put the link up at each of those sites tomorrow.

What we cannot do is to spam other sites. We can extend invitations by posting links on all sites where we are entirely comfortable that our message fits in and is in accordance with the site's rules. We can also temporarily put it on our own websites (just until June 1).

If you are friends with a reporter you may want to see if they are interested in a short piece on World No Tobacco Day. A quick call can't hurt. Joel should be available for interviews if they so desire. If you have any friends who are webmasters they might assist wit
h a link on May 31. The simpler the better. It could say, "Today is World No Tobacco Day. Click here if you'd like to quit."

Will our World No Tobacco Day link move into the top 10. Probably not but it won't be because we didn't try. Still just one overriding principle for all of us, a principle that will always remain our common bond ... no nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff, Patch, Dip, **** or Chew. Keep your eye on that top ten. You just never know : ) Together we can!

John (Gold x7)

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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

10 Jan 2007, 00:13 #52

January
A month for throwing life jackets
January is by far the biggest quitting month of the year, a month when a high percentage of still capitive smokers and struggling quitters dream that this may be their year for freedom. If the situation isn't appropriate or time isn't available for sharing the most important lesson of all (the Law of Addiction and NTAP) a simple suggestion to visit to www.WhyQuit.com may be all it takes to help make dreams come true.
It clearly takes a bit of boldness or even bravery to get in the "habit" of reaching out to those in need but like many here, you may eventually see it as throwing a life jacket to someone drowning. Still just one rule ... no nicotine just one day at a time, Never Take Another Puff, Dip or Chew!
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Jan 2007, 21:44 #53

for Tex
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 Mar 2007, 03:36 #54

I saw a post from a member who was getting some pretty negative feedback from smoking family members and friends because of her efforts to spread the word about the importance of quitting smoking. I kicked up a few posts on helping others quit. The concept of becoming to preachy made me think of the following post I made a few years back when a member's spouse made a comment that she seemed like she had been taken in by a cult by joining Freedom:

Is Freedom a cult?

Back in July a member wrote to us that her husband said we sounded like a cult. I wrote the following post in response. I thought the comments help in a little way to capture how we really try to operate at Freedom.

Actually, I haven't had my work compared to a cult in my actual live clinic experience, although I have seen the accusation made from my Internet presence. Even though I was never accused of it in my live work, to some degree I was always cognizant of the fact that people could view what I was doing as seeming cult like. Much of how I operate is based on the assumption that if I were not careful I could easily be accused of trying to manipulate people I have helped in order to attain some personal gain.

A number of members over time have suggested that we work out some way to charge for participation in our group, or sell our material or encourage donations from our members to our group. It would be easy to do any of these things, but it would easily lead to the appearance that we are pushing our agenda for some sort of personal gain. Our style of operation makes these kind of accusations totally irrelevant. (See Does Joel have any books?, make sure to go back to the third post in that string.)

As far as how to answer your husband's accusation of our cult like status, I went out on the Internet and found a few sites that listed characteristics of a cult. Here is one of the checklists provided by one site, with my explanation as to where Freedom fits in with each critera. There where others that went into a little more religious aspects, but basically, we don't touch issues of religion, politics, and most other lifestyle choices, so these criteria really don't apply to us either.

Joel

Characteristics of a Cult

The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

I actually hope not everyone is focused on the leaders of our group, although as far at to each member having an overzealous, unquestionable commitment of the goals of our group, I hope that are members are guilty of this--considering the goal is for each individual member to save his or her own health and life by staying committed to never take another puff!

The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

Actually, we want each and every member of our group to focus on his or her own quit. Hopefully others around you may eventually take your lead and quit smoking, but there is little we do to influence our members to pull in other people. We basically ask our members to simply set an example that it is possible to live smoke free--not by being members of our group but simply by staying committed to never take another puff!

The group is preoccupied with making money.

Some of these criteria may need a technical explanation of how we are different than a cult, but not this one. We have never made a penny from any of our members and have no future intentions of doing so either. Everything we have is given to our members and our lurkers free of charge, and we do not take donations.

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

We are dealing with combating drug addiction. It is true that we do not want our members questioning or doubting this fact. We could have a hard time defending against this one.

Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

Outside of mentioning deep breathing, I don 't think any of these factors fit our group.

The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth).

As opposed to us telling people how they should live any other aspect of their life, we make it clear that we don't even want to discuss about other aspects of their lives. Our premise is everything you did as a smoker, you can still do as an ex-smoker.

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).

If we could save humanity from smoking we would try--but we can't. As far as having any Messianic beliefs in my work, following my suggestions may keep you out of whatever you consider heaven longer, but only because following our suggestion you are likely to be here on earth longer--considering our only real suggestion is to never take another puff!

The group has a polarized us- versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.

We avoid conflict at all costs. Even our Our Mission Statement spells out we don't want to take on institutes like tobacco companies or other industries who have interests in people continuing to smoke or use nicotine products. We want any person to be able to use our site for help, even if those people work for industries promoting smoking or nicotine.

The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).

Here is one that we can't actually defend against.

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).

All we ask of our members is that they do not take a puff. We also explain that they should not take up other negative behaviors in order not to take a puff. (see "Do whatever it takes to quit smoking")



The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.

Yes we have been known to induce guilt. See I Liked My Other Support Group More

Members' subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group.

If a member's personal goal was to prematurely cripple himself or herself, or to die prematurely, then we are guilty of trying to alter those personal goals. As far as cutting ties with family and friends, we in fact do the opposite. We don't want members spending an inordinate amount of time here at Freedom at the cost of time with their families.

Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.

Same answer as above. In addition, our hope is that by sticking to the commitment to quit smoking, you are buying yourself a whole lot of extra time to spend with family and friends. Living extra years and decades afford people who quit smoking more time and better quality time.

Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members

We don't want our members over socializing with each other or with management. We are an educational site first, a support site second, and as far as a social site, we try to keep general socialization down to a minimum. We want our members to use the time they spend with us in order to secure their ability to be better able to socialize in their real world with their commitment intact to never take another puff.
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31 Jul 2007, 19:52 #55

From above:

Here is a post I put up back in 2003, although I cannot find the exact string it was in.
Is Freedom a cult?

Back in July a member wrote to us that her husband said we sounded like a cult. I wrote the following post in response. I thought the comments help in a little way to capture how we really try to operate at Freedom.

Actually, I haven't had my work compared to a cult in my actual live clinic experience, although I have seen the accusation made from my Internet presence. Even though I was never accused of it in my live work, to some degree I was always cognizant of the fact that people could view what I was doing as seeming cult like. Much of how I operate is based on the assumption that if I were not careful I could easily be accused of trying to manipulate people I have helped in order to attain some personal gain.

A number of members over time have suggested that we work out some way to charge for participation in our group, or sell our material or encourage donations from our members to our group. It would be easy to do any of these things, but it would easily lead to the appearance that we are pushing our agenda for some sort of personal gain. Our style of operation makes these kind of accusations totally irrelevant. (See Does Joel have any books?, make sure to go back to the third post in that string.)

As far as how to answer your husband's accusation of our cult like status, I went out on the Internet and found a few sites that listed characteristics of a cult. Here is one of the checklists provided by one site, with my explanation as to where Freedom fits in with each critera. There where others that went into a little more religious aspects, but basically, we don't touch issues of religion, politics, and most other lifestyle choices, so these criteria really don't apply to us either.

Joel

Characteristics of a Cult

The group is focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment.

I actually hope not everyone is focused on the leaders of our group, although as far at to each member having an overzealous, unquestionable commitment of the goals of our group, I hope that are members are guilty of this--considering the goal is for each individual member to save his or her own health and life by staying committed to never take another puff!

The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.

Actually, we want each and every member of our group to focus on his or her own quit. Hopefully others around you may eventually take your lead and quit smoking, but there is little we do to influence our members to pull in other people. We basically ask our members to simply set an example that it is possible to live smoke free--not by being members of our group but simply by staying committed to never take another puff!

The group is preoccupied with making money.

Some of these criteria may need a technical explanation of how we are different than a cult, but not this one. We have never made a penny from any of our members and have no future intentions of doing so either. Everything we have is given to our members and our lurkers free of charge, and we do not take donations.

Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

We are dealing with combating drug addiction. It is true that we do not want our members questioning or doubting this fact. We could have a hard time defending against this one.

Mind-numbing techniques (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, debilitating work routines) are used to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

Outside of mentioning deep breathing, I don 't think any of these factors fit our group.

The leadership dictates sometimes in great detail how members should think, act, and feel (for example: members must get permission from leaders to date, change jobs, get married; leaders may prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, how to discipline children, and so forth).

As opposed to us telling people how they should live any other aspect of their life, we make it clear that we don't even want to discuss about other aspects of their lives. Our premise is everything you did as a smoker, you can still do as an ex-smoker.

The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s), and members (for example: the leader is considered the Messiah or an avatar; the group and/or the leader has a special mission to save humanity).

If we could save humanity from smoking we would try--but we can't. As far as having any Messianic beliefs in my work, following my suggestions may keep you out of whatever you consider heaven longer, but only because following our suggestion you are likely to be here on earth longer--considering our only real suggestion is to never take another puff!

The group has a polarized us- versus-them mentality, which causes conflict with the wider society.

We avoid conflict at all costs. Even our Our Mission Statement spells out we don't want to take on institutes like tobacco companies or other industries who have interests in people continuing to smoke or use nicotine products. We want any person to be able to use our site for help, even if those people work for industries promoting smoking or nicotine.

The group's leader is not accountable to any authorities (as are, for example, military commanders and ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream denominations).

Here is one that we can't actually defend against.

The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify means that members would have considered unethical before joining the group (for example: collecting money for bogus charities).

All we ask of our members is that they do not take a puff. We also explain that they should not take up other negative behaviors in order not to take a puff. (see "Do whatever it takes to quit smoking")



The leadership induces guilt feelings in members in order to control them.

Yes we have been known to induce guilt. See I Liked My Other Support Group More

Members' subservience to the group causes them to cut ties with family and friends, and to give up personal goals and activities that were of interest before joining the group.

If a member's personal goal was to prematurely cripple himself or herself, or to die prematurely, then we are guilty of trying to alter those personal goals. As far as cutting ties with family and friends, we in fact do the opposite. We don't want members spending an inordinate amount of time here at Freedom at the cost of time with their families.

Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group.

Same answer as above. In addition, our hope is that by sticking to the commitment to quit smoking, you are buying yourself a whole lot of extra time to spend with family and friends. Living extra years and decades afford people who quit smoking more time and better quality time.

Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members

We don't want our members over socializing with each other or with management. We are an educational site first, a support site second, and as far as a social site, we try to keep general socialization down to a minimum. We want our members to use the time they spend with us in order to secure their ability to be better able to socialize in their real world with their commitment intact to never take another puff.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Oct 2007, 07:33 #56

From: OBob-Gold Sent: 6/9/2003 3:16 PM
For Marebear.... or anyone other member for that matter....
WhyQuitBusCard.doc (a Word doc)
Knowbutts WhyQuit Cards (a pdf)
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Recommend Message 21 of 27 in Discussion
From: John (Gold) Sent: 10/28/2002 1:42 PM
I just received an envelope from Bedford, Mass (but without a name) that was filled with WhyQuit business cards. Don't be shy they are great! Did you do these Skydog? I tried clicking on your link attached at the bottom of the above message but my view doesn't show anything in the small boxes

I have a rather ancient scanner that isn't scanning well at all these days (I'm sure it's operator error -1997 Mustek 600II EP & [url=mailto:john@whyquit.com]john@whyquit.com[/url] if you know the settings I should try). Anyway, this is what they look like and I'll type out the messages on the other 7 cards as there are eight different messages in all. These are fantastic! Thanks! I'll enjoy handing them out! The blue background you see below is just a page I used to contrast and show the edges.

Here are all the card messages. I've kept the word per line breakdown the same as they are on each card. All cards have the same WhyQuit.com logo at the bottom. Thanks again so much. What a treat to find in the mail!
Are you sick of being a
slave to cigarettes?
Knowledge is the key to freedom

Quit smoking the easy way.
Cold turkey.
Find out how from people who've done it.

You know you want to
quit smoking
We want you to know how.

Free yourself
from the chains of
nicotine addiction.

Find out what the tobacco and
pharmaceutical companies
don't what you to know
Quitting is easier than you think.

Will you smoke your next
cigarette because you want
to or because you have to?

Know anyone who's
died from smoking?
Is that how you want to go?

Can you imagine
life without cigarettes?
Does your answer to that question scare you?
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

25 May 2008, 10:22 #57

Thank you, John, You Rock!!
!!!!!!!!!
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