According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in five deaths can be attributed to cigarette smoking.  This harmful habit increases risks for coronary artery disease, infertility, several types of cancer, and stroke.  Smoking is also linked to premature delivery in pregnant women, and stillbirth, low birthweight, and sudden infant death syndrome in exposed infants.  There are many ways to quit smoking, but what works for some might not work for others.  While many people try nicotine replacement or prescribed medications, others long for a more natural alternative.  Acupuncture offers a safe and natural way to keep cravings for nicotine in check.

The Research

Several studies have concluded that acupuncture helps people quit smoking.  One study published in The American Journal of Public Health found that acupuncture alone, or in combination with smoking education, helped people quit; and those with a longer history of smoking showed the most success.

A recent study determined that pressure points in the ears prove particularly effective for reducing nicotine cravings.  A group of smokers received one treatment per week for five weeks, which resulted in a success rate of 21%.  Many acupuncturists also prescribe to patient 'ear seeds' for home use, which are tiny balls fastened to the ear with adhesive tape.  Applying pressure to the seeds stimulates the nervous system and helps reduce the desire to smoke.

Additional Benefits

Some people have trouble tolerating certain medications prescribed for tobacco cessation, but the side effects of acupuncture are positive.  Many people using acupuncture to quit smoking report enhanced mood, less irritability, improved bowel movements, and better sleep.

Related: Smoking and the Rheumatoid Arthritis Connection

Additional Ways to Quit Smoking

Roughly 90% of people who try to stop smoking opt for quitting "cold turkey," which means no medicine, aids, or therapy.  Unfortunately, this method is successful for just 4 to 7% of smokers.  Additional ways to kick the habit include:

  • Behavioral therapy – a professional helps smokers determine triggers and learn how to work through them
  • Nicotine replacement therapy – gums, inhalers, lozenges, patches, or sprays deliver nicotine in decreasing doses as a replacement for cigarettes
  • Medications – prescribed medicines like Zyban and Chantix
  • Hypnosis – working with a trained hypnotherapist or use of self-hypnosis audio programs

While there are a number of ways to quit smoking, many people lean toward an all-natural method.  Acupuncture helps curb cravings for nicotine in addition to delivering a few pleasant side effects.  People interested in trying acupuncture to quit smoking can find a certified practitioner in their area by logging on to