ID movie/book about quitting smoking

During lunch today a colleague told us about either a movie or a book about a very special and drastic way of quitting.

The person in the story made a contract with an agency which said that if the person ever smoked again the agency would kill them. The contract was also unrecallable since there was no way of contacting the agency again.

My colleague couldn’t remember the title nor whether it was a movie or a book.

Can anyone help us ID this?

Cat’s Eye with James Woods as the smoker.

Based on the short story “Quitters, Inc.” by Stephen King. Is that in Skeleton Crew?

Damn, that was fast. Thanks Slithy.

Seems it’s both a book (short story) and a film.

I remember the freakiest part of this movie is when he goes into his little office in his house and pulls a cigarette out of the drawer about to light up when he looks across the room and in the closet behind the clothes there is a pair of boots visible underneath the hanging clothes. Someone from the company ostensibly is in his closet behind his clothing watching him. It just sends chills right up my spine.

It’s actually from Night Shift, King’s first and best collection of his short stories.

Quitter’s Inc. has always been one of my favorites. Sometimes They Come Back, The Ledge, and Last Rung of the Ladder are excellent reads also found in Night Shift and IMHO represent King’s best work as a writer.

As for Quitter’s Inc, the agency didn’t threaten to kill the smoker for back sliding but instead would target that person’s loved ones.

Rats. I see it’s going to be one of those mush-brain days.

Yep, it’s chilling when they go after the guy’s son and wife. And the ending, when he meets the wife of the man who recommended Quitter’s Inc. to him? Yeah, it’s a pretty powerful short story, well worth seeking out.

The *organization * :wink: operated on the theory that love was pragmatic. A threat against you may not work, but a threat against your loved one would.

It was actually kind of sweet. In the King short story the man had a mentally retarded son and he was a bit repulsed by him. When they threatened to break his kid’s arms if he smoked he realized how much he loved his son, and began to treasure him.

Of course, after you quit smoking, they have another plan to make sure you don’t gain weight…

Quitter’s Inc boasted a 98% (I think) success rate. When the smoker asked about the other 2%, the Quitter’s Inc guy pulled a gun out of his desk and said “Oh, even they don’t smoke again. We guarentee it.”

They would start with the loved ones, and the smoker himself was subject to physical punishments after a few infractions but as Annie has pointed out, a tenth breaking of the rules meant they “wrote you off”, as it were.

There’s one about those in **Night Shift ** as well. I think it’s the first one and it’s called Graveyard Shift.

Anyway glad to see others with an appreciation for Quitter’s Inc.

Maybe we should start an appreciation thread for the other featured stories.

Last Rung of the Ladder is as good as anything King has put out.

I agree.

Graveyard Shift creeped me out.

Last Ring of the Ladder was that the one about the girl and her brother jumping into the hay?

I can’t remember the name, but wasn’t the one about the hitman and the toy soldiers in that book, too? I loved that story.

I should reread that collection–I still tell people about “Quitters, Inc.” some twenty years after having read it.


Battleground. It’s discussed in the OP of this recent thread though I and others disagreed.

Wasn’t the second bit in Cat’s Eye (about the guy walking around the building on the ledge) a Night Shift story, too? Or did that one come from Skeleton Crew? And who can forget the little breath-stealing gnome stalking Drew Barrymore and framing the cat for parakeetacide!

Fun movie. It was required slumber-party fare for me and my friends all through junior high.

The one with Drew Barrymore is not from a short story by King, but maybe he wrote it specifically for the movie.

Yes, the guy walking around the ledge of the high-rise is from Night Shift. The man was having an affair with a mobster’s wife, and in order to escape with his love, the husband forced him to walk all around the building.

There are some good stories in Everything’s Eventual, too. I really liked the one the book was named for.

Here’s the Wikipedia article on Night Shift, which includes links to each of the stories plus information on the various film adaptations.

In Otto’s wikipedia link, you’ll see The Ledge is included in Night Shift.

The film version starred Robert Hays of Airplane! fame.