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Hypnotherapy and acupuncture 'waste of money' for smokers

No good evidence that complementary therapies help quitters, say experts

OnMedica Staff

Monday, 30 June 2008

Smokers wishing to quit should not "waste money" on complementary therapies, experts claimed today.

Speaking at the UK’s National Smoking Cessation Conference in Birmingham, Dr Andy McEwen, assistant director of tobacco studies at Cancer Research UK's Health Behaviour Research Centre and programme director for the conference, said there was no "good research evidence" to show that hypnotherapy or acupuncture increase a person’s chance of quutting.

"You may hear people who are convinced that these, or other complementary therapies, helped them stop smoking - but there is no way of knowing whether they would have stopped anyway," Dr McEwen told the conference.

"Anyone who is ready to quit would be more successful by getting in contact with their local NHS Stop Smoking Service for specialist advice and treatment. There is no easy way to stop smoking and if something seems too good to be true, it probably is."

Conference delegates will be debating the motion that "This house believes that hypnotherapy and acupuncture should be treatments provided by NHS Stop Smoking Services."

It is likely that the motion will be defeated if findings from the first Annual Smoking Cessation Practitioner Survey are an indication of what those in the field believe. An online survey of nearly 500 specialists working in NHS Stop Smoking Services found that 94% would not recommend hypnotherapy, and 94% would not recommend acupuncture, to smokers wanting to quit.

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