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Some studies suggest that acupuncture may help people quit smoking. Could it help you?

Acupuncture has been used to treat various addictions, including opium and cocaine, and is also thought to help people who are trying to break their addiction to nicotine However; the clinical studies evaluating the effects of acupuncture are mixed. Some show this alternative therapy to be effective, while others show no effect. A study published in 2006 examined 13 studies that used acupuncture for smoking cessation; ten of the studies showed that acupuncture is effective for smoking cessation.

A meta-analysis done in 2000 and another done in 2006 did not support the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for tobacco use. The results of these reviews suggested that any effect of acupuncture may be due to other factors such as positive expectations of the treatment.

It is not clear exactly how acupuncture can help some people quit smoking. It has been suggested that the insertion of acupuncture needles causes the release of certain neurotransmitters that play a role in nicotine addiction and withdrawal.

Acupuncture may be most helpful when combined with other methods of smoking cessation. If you decide to try this therapy, ask your doctor for a referral to an acupuncturist, or contact the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.


Some people have had success using hypnosis to help them quit smoking. Can it help you?

Hypnosis tries to change subconscious beliefs and attitudes that may be getting in the way of your efforts to quit smoking. Often hypnosis includes relaxation methods, meditation, rewards, and counseling. There are different approaches to hypnosis. For example:

  • Making direct suggestions to smokers to change their perceptions about addictive behavior
  • Hypnoaversion-using hypnosis to instill an aversion to addictive behavior
  • Hypnotherapy-using hypnosis with psychotherapy and teaching self hypnosis

For hypnosis to be successful, you must be motivated to quit smoking. Without this motivation, hypnosis won't work. Although controversial, results with hypnosis alone appear to be modest. However, the probability of success can be increased if you combine hypnosis with other quitting methods.

Hypnosis for smoking cessation can be done in private sessions or in a group session.

Sourced from: Karen Schroeder Kassel, MS, RD, Med, "Acupuncture to Help You Quit Smoking," May 2009 and "Hypnosis to Help You Quit Smoking," August 2007