It Hit Me Like a Wall of Bricks

There are, it must be admitted, websites other than mine that claim to be able to cure smokers without nicotine, drugs, or willpower. What these sites offer are techniques. Don’t get me wrong. If smokers after working their way through a ten-day course to learn how to replace the word ‘cigarette’ in their minds with the word ‘air’ whenever they feel the desire to smoke, and by this laborious process manage to quit, that’s great. And good luck to them.

One such that I discovered is called CBQ. This means, we are told, cognitive behavioural quitting (derived from cognitive behavioural therapy) that, when applied to smoking, will enable you to quit ‘naturally’. (What’s an unnatural way of quitting then?) It boils down to trying to change the way you think about smoking.

More explanation of CBQ is given in a TEDx talk by the developer of this system, an earnest young woman with a charming Greek accent called Nasia Davos. She waves her arms around all the time she speaks, but what does she actually say? Plenty, and a lot more on her Webinar, though I found it difficult to concentrate beyond the long autobiographical introduction.

Quaint use of English
The ‘wall of bricks’, incidentally, is what she felt hit her when she was confronted by the tragedy of her cousin dying from smoking-induced lung cancer. Oh dear. You can say something hit you like a ton of bricks, or that you ran into a brick wall.

Although Ms Davos sports an MA in psychology, human behaviour, and psychoanalysis, no less, she doesn’t seem particularly clued up about why people smoke. Nor is she up to date about the annual global death toll from cigarettes that she puts at three million: the latest figure from the World Health Organisation, tragically, is seven million.

Ms Davos boasts of having read over 240 books and research papers on addiction. What she was hoping to discover, therefore, seems to have been rather elusive. Nor would her claimed knowledge of psychoanalysis have been of much help to find a cure for smoking. As is well known, psychoanalysis was invented by Sigmund Freud, but he died of throat cancer from long-term cigar smoking which he was unable to stop.

Why smokers smoke
This is her explanation of why smokers smoke:

Smoking activates the reward areas of your brain like the nuleus accumbens [though later she calls it the craving spot] that cause you to release feel-good chemicals like dopamine. So you smoke again and again to replicate the pleasurable effects of dopamine.

The idea that smoking causes the release of dopamine is no more than a theory – it’s impossible to measure the level of dopamine or any other neurochemical in the living human brain – and it’s curious that she claims smokers smoke for pleasure. Do they see a vision of heaven or experience an orgasmic sensation every time they suck poisonous cigarette fumes into their lungs?

Another of her purported reasons for smoking is, ‘When you’re stressed you smoke to relax and feel better.’ This is surprising coming from someone who herself claims to have smoked a pack-a-day for ten years, as she does. How is it that smokers have so much stress they need a cigarette as a kind of tranquilliser twenty (or however many it is) times a day? Could it be that smoking causes the stress rather than relieves it?

Whether you smoke for pleasure or to relieve stress, or both, Ms Davos puts it succinctly: ‘The motive for smoking is to feel good.’

Then what was the smoker feeling just before he or she smoked that cigarette? Clearly, not good. And why was that? A little thought and discussion with smokers will reveal that the reason for not feeling good twenty times a day is the cigarette itself. But Ms Davos just doesn’t get it:

You will become a happy non-smoker when you discover new ways to relax and feel good without relying on cigarettes.

You will become a happy non-smoker (other things being equal) merely by stopping smoking.

What about the dreaded cravings?

Ninety-four per cent of smokers who try to quit, fail because they don’t know how to manage their cravings.

The reason you suffer during a craving is because you don’t know how to keep your hands and mind busy until the craving is over.

There IS a simple way to knockout [sic] your cravings.

It would be tedious to critique all ninety minutes of the Webinar, but here is another quote to give you a further taste of her approach:

What I’ll tell you may not make sense but you’ll probably be able to feel it on some level. You don’t give [attempting to quit] your best shot. Because NOT giving it your best shot keeps the OPTION, the dream and the hope of successful quitting ALIVE. You must have faith, not fear.

All clear?

There has to be a better way. There is. It’s called the Symonds Method.

Text © Gabriel Symonds

Gabriel Symonds

Dr Gabriel Symonds is a British medical doctor living in Japan who has developed a unique interactive stop smoking method. It involves no nicotine, drugs, hypnosis, or gimmicks but consists in helping smokers to demonstrate to themselves why they really smoke and why it seems so hard to stop doing it. Then most people find they can quit straightaway and without a struggle. He has used this approach successfully with hundreds of smokers; it works equally well for vapers. Dr Symonds also writes about transgenderism and other controversial medical matters. See

diana - 14 December 2019 Reply

i smoked for over 40 years. and I went through Davos’ program and smoked my last cigarette on 6/4/19 and haven’t had one since. Davos is the real deal. Watching the webinar and going through the program are not the same. You do create a new neural pathway in the brain. I did. No will power, no grief of loss. No meds, no substitutes, no patches. I am free of a habit that enslaved me for over 40 years. YOu may undermine her all you want, but I speak from direct experience.

    Gabriel Symonds - 19 December 2019 Reply

    I am glad to hear you have stopped smoking with Nasia Davos’s programme. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you succeed.

Amy - 18 January 2021 Reply

I was researching for Nasia Davos’s success page to leave a review for the CBQ and came across this. After reading your post… to say the least, it does not resemble Davos and her method and it seems like you have a grudge or personal issue with this woman. Let me reassure you her course is incredible it helped me stop smoking and improve many other aspects of my life. I have already recommended it to everyone I know, even non-smokers.

    Gabriel Symonds - 21 January 2021 Reply

    My critique of Ms Davos’s method is based on her website and webinar and is, of course, satire. I have no grudge or personal issue at all with her, and as I replied to another comment published on my website, it doesn’t matter how you quit smoking as long as you do it.

Dave - 26 January 2021 Reply

I just think its a bit of a turn off how you pretty much put Davos down and make it seem like YOU are the more clear answer. Like you said..however people stop smoking is wonderful! People stop over all sorts of methods. I’m sure you have a good one as well but you’d be better off focusing on your own positive way rather than dimming someone else’s shine to brighten your own.

    Gabriel Symonds - 3 February 2021 Reply

    Thank you for your comment, but it seems you are unable to appreciate satire.

    Nubia London - 8 August 2021 Reply

    I agree. Mr symonds focus on your method and stop dimming other methods. Be kind to yourself and stop thinking and let go of your obsession with Nasia Davos.

      Gabriel Symonds - 10 August 2021 Reply

      Thank you for your advice that I should be kind to myself and stop thinking.

      I find it curious that you regard my one post about Nasia Davos, written over three years ago, as an obsession.

Beth Runyan - 19 March 2021 Reply

I have a degree in English. This doesn’t read like satire, with which I am familiar. It truly does read like a hypercritical telling-off.

I have also completed the CBQ program. Granted, it’s only been a few days, but I’ve had little to no withdrawal symptoms.

    Gabriel Symonds - 20 March 2021 Reply

    Oh dear. I do seem to be getting some flak recently for my post on Nasia Davos’s quit smoking method. Now you tell me that it doesn’t read like satire, and you ought to know because you have a degree in English! But ‘hypercritical telling off’? Come now, Ms Runyan, surely you exaggerate.

    I am genuinely pleased to hear you have completed the CBQ program and so far have had no withdrawal symptoms—I do hope you stay a non-smoker.

    Incidentally, I am not only critical of Ms Davos. A couple of years ago I pointed out some inaccuracies on her website including the statement that quitting smoking is the cure for COPD. This she corrected—not that I received any thanks.

Jeff - 24 March 2021 Reply

“(What’s an unnatural way of quitting then?)”
The answer to that is rather simple: giving nicotine by other method to cure nicotine addiction, or a prescription that gives you nightmares or suicidal thoughts.
Skipped though your blog when you mentioned the accent and waving of arms – very relevant.

    Gabriel Symonds - 26 March 2021 Reply

    Thank you for filling in the blank about ‘unnatural quitting’.

    Your last remark appears to be sarcasm. Perhaps I should attach a notice to my blogs saying something like: ‘Warning. These blogs are written in a satirical fashion which some people may not appreciate.’

Jeanne - 17 December 2021 Reply

Nasia Davos’s “live” webinar is a 90 minute sales pitch, and, from what I can tell, it is definitely NOT live. What a waste of my time and hope.

    Gabriel Symonds - 19 December 2021 Reply

    Thank you for your supportive comments on my blog about Nasia Davos’s approach. I am confident that if you were to try the Symonds Method you will not be disappointed and will quickly become a non-smoker again, without a struggle.

Nicole - 12 February 2022 Reply

We must have watched a different webinar from Nasia because the one I attended in November was very useful and I managed to quit smoking with the free information from the webinar.

Trying to do satire or belittle other professionals in your field to make yourself look good is never a good sign in my view and doesn’t convince me that the nicotine monkey method is good.

Anyway what matters is what works for people. Her method worked for me. If you’re reading this quit smoking however you do it, best thing I ever did.

Martha - 9 March 2022 Reply

I don’t have to pay anything to use CBQ method. You don’t offer any free support? I’m on day 8 and all of videos from CBQ are free. Seems to me you failed to innovate and are upset that this young female is getting so much attention and support. Honestly is not about the method being used, is the individuals readiness to commit. I don’t feel I need to pay for CBQ to be successful, it’s up to me to investigate in my health. I’m glad I read this, gives more reassurance on continuing to work the CBQ method.

    Gabriel Symonds - 10 March 2022 Reply

    If you quit poisoning yourself with tobacco fumes using the free CBQ promotional material, that’s great – and good luck to you.

    I do offer free support in that, in the unlikely event of a smoker failing to quit after one private session with me, up to four additional sessions are available, and my patients are always welcome to contact me by email in case of any difficulty.

Michael Barber - 18 August 2022 Reply

I honestly feel like all of these reviews that taking the defense of Nasia are none other than Nasia herself lol. She either has a cult following, or she literally is writing all these comments. Wow lol

Catherine - 27 December 2022 Reply

I ordered the CBQ method and received a members website address that I was unable to access due to it being an unsecured website. Sent numerous emails back and forth, to no avail. Asked for a telephone contact number and was told “email is best”. I asked for a refund twice….nothing! now going through my credit card company and BBB.
I believe it is a scam.

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