There is no longer a question that smoking is harmful to yourself and others, and continuing to smoke drastically increases your chances of cancer, emphysema, heart disease, and many other ailments. On top of that, smoking is an increasing social stigma. Many states and cities have banned smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars, and it has generally become less acceptable or mainstream to smoke. Taking all these factors together, more consumers than ever are trying to quit. However, as millions of people know, this can be very difficult task, and any shortcut or “proven methods” are quickly seized upon as the next best thing.
Unfortunately, consumers’ desire to find a quick fix has led to a variety of scams and sham offers allegedly providing products and services to stop smoking.
Scammers advertise that using a certain product will essentially “make you quit overnight.” Some say that their product does not use patches or pills, and is 100% natural. What you may have picked up from our other posts on scams applies here also – if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is not true.
Here are some of the most common pitches to be aware of
1. E-Cigarettes: The electronic cigarette. This is a cigarette that simulates a real smoking experience, without the tar, ash, tobacco, lingering smell, or smoke. Although there are legitimate products out there, they are difficult to come by. Many products are scams, and follow the traditional formula. They advertise the “e-cig” by offering a “free trial” for a minimal cost of shipping and handling. After they’ve retained your credit card information, they proceed to overcharge your credit card for “refills” and fees that recur every month. As with all other scams, the cancellation process is difficult or impossible. In addition, the quality is poor – poor design, leaking cartridges, short life, the works.
2. Hypnosis videos: It is true that quitting an addiction entails self-control, and the mind plays a huge role. There are reputable hypnotherapists who actually may aid the process of quitting smoking. However, there are also numerous hypnosis scam artists, so it is important to be on alert to distinguish the two. If hypnosis is something you feel will help, look for a product that is done by a hypnotherapist that is certified by a major hypnosis association. Also, a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist may know what videos are made by valid establishments.
3. Laser therapy: It works like this: A very low powered laser beam is applied to the body’s acupuncture points that stimulate the nerves, which is purported to produce endorphins which help relieve the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. It is still up in the air whether these treatments actually work. Before dishing out great sums of money for it. You should be aware that it is still in its experimental stage.
How to protect yourself
1. Information is everything. – Educate yourself on the various scams that target your desire to get off your nicotine addiction. Some products may be legitimate, but many are not, and unless you do your homework, the higher chance you will have to fall victim to a useless product.
2. Watch out for any product description that mentions the words “quit overnight,” “simple,” “easy,” “guarantee.” Addiction CAN be overcome, but its that not easy.
3. Beware of “free trial” offers with minimal shipping and handling costs. NOTHING is free, and it is most likely a scam to get a hold of your credit card information to bill you large sums of money later.
4. Consult your doctor before making any purchase aimed at quitting smoking. Smoking is bad for your health, but many methods of quitting smoking can be as well.
If you have had a bad experience with a “stop smoking” product, report to Scambook.com. We want to know about it – the more proactive you get, the better chance you have of preventing these scammers from victimizing others. You can additionally alter the Better Business Bureau or your state attorney general.
You can quit smoking, but not by paying scammers a bunch of money. Do it the right way.