Acupuncture is a popular non-pharmaceutical method used to stop smoking. It supports the efforts of the individual, by repressing the desire to smoke and by creating repulsion to cigarette smoke. It reduces the symptoms of withdrawal syndrome and also provides the boost needed to support the production of endogenous neuroactive substances that the smoker obtains from the cigarette.
Several types of acupuncture, auricular acupuncture, semi-permanent needles and electroacupuncture, have been used to help individuals to stop smoking, and there are several studies reporting high success rates (50-90%). However, the results remain contradictory, highlighting the disparity in practice, the non-specificity of the acupuncture points and the difficulty of designing appropriate methodology.
However, the fact that emerges from the analyses of the large number of studies on the subject is the benefit of the use of acupuncture (at least 30%) compared to not using it. It is worth noting that the possibility for someone to successfully stop smoking on their own and remain a non-smoker for more than a year, ranges from 3-5%.
Today, acupuncture practitioners in Greece have extensive experience of more than 30 years in using acupuncture to help people stop smoking, and the use of acupuncture is established in clinical practice.
Smoking is an addiction, you cannot control it, it is something that you like doing (it is associated with structures of the emotional brain and not of logic). Cigarettes are certainly not made so that an individual can stop smoking easily. On the other hand, smokers are not doomed, no-one was born with a cigarette in their mouth, but with a brain that produces its own substances. Abstinence from ingesting external chemicals is the motivation to reorganize the brain as a non-smoker. As long as someone does not smoke, the biochemistry of the brain is triggered in order to produce endogenous substances that will support the body.
One should stop smoking when one feels ready. It is a big decision, a change in the smoker's life, and so the effort to give up should be seen as such. The process of giving up smoking is hard and unpleasant for the smoker and those around them, especially in the beginning. The goal is to render the effort as easy and manageable as possible, and thus successful.
More information, and answers to questions for smokers who are trying to quit smoking, e.g. What are you fighting against? How can you make a good effort? Does acupuncture help?” can be found in the booklet (in Greek language): “Quit Smoking – a practical help”.