Acupuncture- An Effective Method To Stop Smoking

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Much of the work in this area was stimulated by the reports of Michael Smith, who developed an acupuncture protocol for ?drug detox? in the late 1970?s.

His work focused especially on the use of ear acupuncture, following the work of surgeon-acupuncturist Paul Nogier in France. Smith has also pursued the question of the nature of addiction and the setting required to help patients overcome addiction.

Though Smith?s work was mainly involved with difficult inner-city drug problems like heroin addiction, the principles and methods have been applied to nicotine addiction in daily smokers.

Explanations for the role of acupuncture in drug withdrawal, such as inducing enkephalins and endorphins to reduce the anxiety and stress as the blood levels of the drug decline, were proposed. The results of testing for these substances have been somewhat contradictory.

Several state and city governments have indicated their support by providing funds for acupuncture centers focusing on drug withdrawal for illegal drugs or illegal use of drugs Such support continues in several cities and an organization to promote this methodology, the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA), was formed in 1988. It has a current membership of nearly half of all American acupuncturists.

There is now great social reinforcement for stopping smoking. The medical profession, to the extent it is represented by the largest member organization, the American Medical Association, has taken up a campaign to encourage all smokers to quit, regardless of their current health status.

Public health messages about the harm associated with smoking have dramatically increased in numbers. As a result, personal support for continued restraint is easily obtained. Nonetheless, the long-term quit rate for tobacco smoking appears to be holding fairly constant, with slightly more than half of all people who take up the habit giving it up at some time in their life.

The currently accepted stop-smoking methods usually involve counseling plus application of nicotine in doses that reduce craving for the drug while being diminished gradually.

Nicotine patches and nicotine gum are examples of delivery systems that separate the nicotine from the act of smoking. The effectiveness of these methods can be determined with some accuracy because it is possible to provide placebo alternatives and observe the difference in smoking cessation rates.

Acupuncture to stop smoking research involves daily treatment of volunteer patients. Those who took up smoking late and who desire to stop smoking should attain a high level of short-term effect, and the long-term effect should be reasonably good, but not necessarily better than other methods that take volunteer patients of similar characteristics.

Research about acupuncture effects on smoking cessation have mostly been conducted without a control group.

This means that all of the non-specific effects of a stop-smoking program, such as the decision to stop smoking, the regular visits to a stop-smoking assistant and the cessation of smoking at least for a day or two during the program as occur for those who do not quit the program.

All of this can contribute to a positive outcome that could also be attained by a placebo treatment. Therefore, it is difficult to know the full contribution, if any, of acupuncture to the success rate of those who want to stop smoking.