In recent years, acupuncture has had both media coverage and some scientific interest for its effects for those trying to quite the evil weed – smoking cessation to end cigarette smoking, rolling tobacco smoking and tobacco pipe smoking. Ear acupuncture can be performed by practitioners trained specifically to use it as an adjunctive therapy for people trying to stop smoking. Another method is Traditional Chinese Medicine, where smokers are also encouraged to try ear acupuncture to help quitting tobacco, but may also be given some body acupuncture points to try assist their detoxification and recovery of better health.
History and studies
A great deal of evidence exists to suggest that acupuncture may be used to successfully treat a variety of addictions. It was first reported in the 1970s by Dr H.L. Wen, a physician in Hong Kong, who studied patients with active opium addictions (1). The patients were receiving electro acupuncture for post surgical pain relief but also had unexpected relief from withdrawal symptoms. Dr Wen further studied acupuncture and naloxone (used to treat opiate addiction) an found 51% of patients drug free a year later (1). The studies were repeated elsewhere and from this early work, Dr Mike Smith and clinical team at the Lincoln Hospital, New York began developing ear acupuncture protocols for treating single and multiple drug addiction (2). In 1985, this work was expanded with the formation of the National Association for Detoxification (NADA) to promote the protocols with professionals coming into working contact with drug addicted clients. Studies indicated acupuncture was effective (3), and interestingly, did not appear to be specific to opiate drug detoxification. This lead to its use with a wide variety of addictive substances, including tobacco addiction.
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1. Wen, H.L. 1975. Role of acupuncture in narcotic withdrawal. Medical Progress. 2, pp15-16.
2 Smith, M.O. 1988. An acupucnture programme for the treatment of drug addicted persons. Bulletin on Narcotics. XL (1), pp.35-41.
3 The British Acupuncture Council. 2000. Substance abuse & acupuncture: the evidence for effectiveness. London: Acupuncture Research & resource Centre. Available at:
DISCLAIMER: NO information here is intended to be taken as medical advice – or used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Any person with any health concerns is advised instead to consult their doctor. In the case of persons seeking therapy using Traditional Chinese Medicine, this information cannot be taken as medical advice and persons are advised instead to consult a suitably qualified professional practitioner.
Posted by: Daniel Clarke