Hypnotherapy Helps Stop Smoking Habit

Treatment Beats Nicotine Replacement Therapy Alone or Going Cold Turkey

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on October 22, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

Oct. 22, 2007 -- Adding hypnotherapy to the mix of treatments may help die-hard smokers quit more easily than using nicotine replacement therapy alone or going cold turkey.

A new study shows that smokers given free hypnotherapy to help them quit smoking after hospitalization were more likely to be nonsmokers about six months later than those who used nicotine replacement therapy alone, such as gum or patches, or who went cold turkey.

Researchers say hypnotherapy has been promoted as a way to help people quit smoking, but the reliability of this method has not been confirmed. These results suggest that it may be a useful tool for helping motivated smokers to quit.

The study also shows that the smokers who were hospitalized for heart-related problems were more likely to quit smoking than those admitted for lung-related reasons.

The results were presented this week at CHEST 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians in Chicago.

Help to Quit Smoking

In the study, researchers followed 67 smokers who were hospitalized for heart or lung problems. All of the patients were offered help to quit smoking in the form of hypnotherapy, nicotine replacement therapy, or hypnotherapy plus nicotine replacement therapy -- or they could choose to try to quit cold turkey.

Twenty-six weeks after leaving the hospital, the results show that 50% of smokers who used hypnotherapy alone or in combination with nicotine replacement therapy -- compared with 16% who used nicotine replacement therapy alone -- became nonsmokers. In comparison, 25% of those who went cold turkey had kicked the habit.

In addition, researchers found smokers admitted to hospitals for heart-related reasons were more likely to quit smoking than those who were hospitalized for lung problems (46% vs. 16%).

"Patients admitted with coronary symptoms may have experienced 'fear and doom' and decided to alter a major health risk to their disease when approached about smoking cessation," says researcher Faysal Hasan, MD, of North Shore Medical Center in Salem, Mass., in a news release.

"In contrast, pulmonary patients admitted for another exacerbation may not have felt the same threat. They likely felt they can live for another day and continue the smoking habit."

WebMD Health News


SOURCES: 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, Chicago, Oct. 24, 2007. News release, American College of Chest Physicians.

© 2007 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved.