Better Quit® History
To Use | Ex-Smoker
Quits Using Own Device
| Download Brochure
Ex-smoker Quits With Own Device
Dying for a cigarette? So was Laurie Southworth for about
ten years, until she decided to quit. Quoting Mark Twain
she said, "To stop smoking was the easiest thing I ever
did. I ought to know because I've done it a thousand
She tried the cold turkey method
and self-help books, but nothing worked. Finally Southworth
tried something different. She cut off a McDonald's straw to
about the size of a cigarette and carried it around with her
everywhere she went.
She hasn't had a cigarette
since. Instead of reaching for a smoke, she picked up her
straw, twirled it between her fingers, put it in her mouth, and
inhaled deeply. "I'd carry it around with me all day and
people would say, 'What in the world are you doing with that straw
in your mouth?' but that's what helped me kick the habit."
Southworth now markets a cigarette substitute
that she invented called Better Quit®, that uses the air flow idea
of the straw, but looks and feels like a real cigarette.
Growing up in Westport,
Connecticut, Southworth started smoking when she was fourteen.
By the time she was a junior in college, she was
huffing and puffing her way up three flights of stairs to get to
"I really felt victimized by
the habit," she said. "I was winded. I could
feel the effects of smoking in my twenties and thought, 'This is
ridiculous.' I felt that smoking was controlling me, and I didn't
like that." She also knew she wanted to have children one
day and didn't want to set a bad example for them.
She quit cold turkey in 1973, while
working at Connecticut's Noroton School for children with learning
difficulties. On one particularly tough day, though, she recalls
telling herself, "I'll just have one more cigarette."
She learned two things that
day: there's no such thing as "just one more," and
for her to quit permanently, she had to have something
tangible. The jitters, cravings and irritability would
disappear in a few days. It was the habit that lingered so
"I call it a long-ingrained
hand-to-mouth behavior that just doesn't go away when the nicotine
addiction subsides," says Southworth. "It's
the habit of getting out a cigarette, lighting it, and handling it,
and puffing on it that is so hard to break."
The idea of using a straw as a
cigarette substitute made perfect sense to Southworth. She
remembered reading a quote in 1973 from a book, Learning To Live
Without Cigarettes. It stated, "Take a deep breath
and get your lift from some extra oxygen." So, years
after her non-smoking became permanent, she decided to turn her idea
into an invention, the Better Quit® cigarette substitute.
"If we can address all angles
of the habit, then I think there will be a greater chance of success
to stop smoking permanently," Southworth said. "I
want to arm people with everything they need to quit."