Supporting smoking cessation

A guide for health professionals
Ineffective approaches to smoking cessation
☰ Table of contents

There are several quitting methods, which are in widespread use, but have not yet been shown in well-designed trials to be effective for quitting other than a placebo effect – or more than the effect of any counselling and support provided at the same time.17

Hypnotherapy (without counselling)

Hypnotherapy is widely promoted as an effective way to stop smoking. It is said to assist smoking cessation by weakening the desire to smoke, or strengthening the will to stop. Despite being in use for some decades, there are only a few well-designed studies to evaluate its use.17 A Cochrane meta-analysis was unable to show that hypnotherapy was superior to no treatment and there is insufficient data to compare hypnotherapy with alternate effective treatments.157


People sometimes have acupuncture for quitting smoking with the aim of reducing withdrawal symptoms. Related therapies include acupressure, laser therapy and electrical stimulation. At present, there is no consistent evidence that acupuncture, or any related therapy, is better than doing nothing. Well-designed trials of acupuncture, acupressure and laser stimulation are needed before these treatments can be recommended as effective in smoking cessation.158



There is no significant effect of acupuncture or hypnotherapy in smoking cessation. Level I


On the evidence available, acupuncture and hypnotherapy are not recommended as aids to smoking cessation. Strength A



A meta-analysis of both published and unpublished studies indicate no beneficial effect of naltrexone alone or as an adjunct to NRT on short-term or long-term smoking abstinence.159

  1. Scollo MM, Winstanley MH, editors. Tobacco in Australia: facts and issues. A comprehensive online resource. 3rd edn. Melbourne: Cancer Council Victoria, 2008. [accessed 25 March 2011].
  2. Barnes J, Dong CY, McRobbie H, Walker N, Mehta M, Stead LF. Hypnotherapy for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2010, Issue 10. Art. no. CD001008.
  3. White AR, Rampes H, Liu JP, Stead LF, Campbell J. Acupuncture and related interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Systematic Rev 2011, Issue 1. Art. no. CD000009.
  4. David SP, Chu IM, Lancaster T, Stead LF, Evins AE, Prochaska JJ. Systematic review and meta-analysis of opioid antagonists for smoking cessation. BMJ Open. 2014 Mar 14;4(3):e004393.


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