Hypnosis can help smokers kick the habit fast

Amy Norton

ACUPUNCTURE and hypnosis have been promoted to help smokers kick the habit, and there is some evidence that they work, according to a review of studies.

Researchers said that there are still questions, including exactly how effective alternative therapies might be and how they measure up against conventional methods to quit smoking.

But the alternatives should still stand as options for smokers determined to break the habit, said researchers led by Mehdi Tahiri of McGill University in Montreal.


In general, smokers who want to quit should first try standard approaches such as nicotine-replacement therapy, medication and behavioral counselling, Tahiri said.

"But some people are not interested in medication," he said, adding that in many cases the standard therapies had not worked.

Some studies showed that smokers subjected to acupuncture were more than three times as likely to be tobacco-free six months to a year later. Similarly, across four trials of hypnosis, smokers had a higher success rate with the therapy compared with people who had minimal help.

But the success rate was not consistent in all the tests and the jury is still out on alternative therapies for quitting smoking.