The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture involves the placement and stimulation of extremely thin needles into certain pressure points on the body. It is used by some people to help them to stop smoking, chiefly by reducing the withdrawal symptoms associated with nicotine. Withdrawals are commonly cited as the primary reason smokers fail to quit.

However, some of the most thorough research to date suggests that there is no evidence that acupuncture works in smoking cessation. Analyzing 22 studies, the Cochran Review concluded that acupuncture “was not superior to sham acupuncture in smoking cessation at any time point” and that “when acupuncture was compared with other anti-smoking interventions, there were no differences in outcome at any time point.” They further showed that the acupuncture technique used, i.e. auricular or non-auricular acupuncture, made no difference in this outcome.

However, there is a lot to be said for the power of the mind, and if you believe that acupuncture is an effective treatment and you want to try acupuncture to ">help you quit smoking, you certainly should, since any effort to quit is better than no effort at all. Ask your doctor to refer you to a trusted acupuncturist or contact the American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM) at 888-500-7999, or the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture at 800-521-2262.


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