Alternatives for Giving Up Cigarettes
Have you tried unconventional approaches to stop smoking?
Poking Holes in Smoking
the ancient Chinese technique, has been used for thousands of years for a
variety of ills -- and these days, for some people who have recently gotten the
point, it has helped them rise above the cigarette haze for good. In a study at
the University of Oslo in Norway, published in the journal Preventive
Medicine in 2002, participants who had smoked for an average of 23 years
were given acupuncture treatments, with needles inserted at points believed to
influence organs associated with smoking (such as the lungs, airways and
mouth). Over a five-year period, these participants smoked less and had a
decreased desire to smoke, compared with a control group.
clinical setting, you'll meet many people who say they quit smoking by using
acupuncture, and they swear by it," says Kiresuk. But taken together, the
available clinical studies have not provided persuasive evidence of
acupuncture's benefits, with much of research raising doubts about the
alternative technique's ability to help kick the habit, he says.
at the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, conducted an analysis that
combined data from all of the existing randomized, controlled trials of
acupuncture. Their conclusion: Acupuncture was no better than sham acupuncture
techniques in helping people become smoke-free.
has been a practitioner of acupuncture for pain relief and other health
problems for more than 30 years, has found that acupuncture can be helpful in
managing the physiological nicotine-withdrawal symptoms, probably by
stimulating the release of brain chemicals called endorphins. "Acupuncture
can help relieve the 'nicotine fits,' the jitters, the cravings, the
irritability, and the restlessness that people commonly complain about when
they quit," he says.
A Shot in the Arm
the ultimate answer to smoking cessation may come not from an acupuncture
needle, but from a different kind of needle - namely, one that administers a
nicotine vaccination. A number of vaccines are now being developed, with at
least one of them (called NicVAX) now being tested in clinical trials for the
prevention and treatment of nicotine addiction.
stimulates the body's own immune system to block nicotine molecules from
reaching the brain, and thus interfering with the addictive process, including
the triggering of nicotine cravings. Researchers hope that the effects of the
shot, which would be administered in a doctor's office, will last for up to a
year per shot.