NCCIH Clinical Digest

for health professionals

Complementary Health Approaches for Smoking Cessation

January 2021
smoking cessation hand flower
© Thinkstock

There has been emerging interest in the use of complementary therapies such as hypnotherapy, yoga, or mindfulness meditation to aid in smoking cessation. To date, several of these interventions have shown some promise in preliminary, non-randomized studies, but there is not enough evidence to establish if mind and body practices are as efficacious as other evidence-based smoking cessation treatments. The natural product cytisine, primarily used in Central and Eastern European countries for smoking cessation, is not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but has been shown to be effective in helping smokers quit. Complementary therapies can be part of a comprehensive tobacco cessation treatment plan that includes behavioral modifications, and may include pharmaceuticals to decrease cravings, group therapy, or counseling.

This issue of the digest highlights the evidence of several complementary health approaches for smoking cessation.

Modality and Summary of Current Research

Several studies have compared mindfulness meditation-based quit-smoking programs with conventional counseling programs. In some studies, the mindfulness-based programs produced better results; in others, results with the two types of programs were similar.

Read more about the research of mindfulness meditation for smoking cessation

There is some evidence to suggest that hypnotherapy may improve smoking cessation, but data are not definitive.

Read more about the research of hypnotherapy for smoking cessation

Only a few studies have been conducted on the effects of yoga for smoking cessation. Although preliminary results have been positive, larger, high-quality studies are needed to determine rigorously if yoga is an effective treatment.

Read more about the research of yoga for smoking cessation

Only a few high-quality studies on acupuncture for smoking cessation have been conducted, so firm conclusions about its effectiveness cannot be drawn.

Read more about the research of acupuncture for smoking cessation

The natural product cytisine, primarily used in Central and Eastern European countries for smoking cessation, is not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but has been shown to be effective in helping smokers quit.

Read more about the research of cytisine for smoking cessation

Information for Your Patients

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH’s Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH website at nccih.nih.gov. NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.

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