Alternative Therapies to Reduce Dependence

The following are alternative therapies that may help you during the quitting process. When considering any product that claims it can help you stop smoking, be sure to consult with your health care provider before beginning use. Some of these methods are not approved by the FDA.[9]


Acupuncture involves placing very thin needles into your skin at specific areas of the body. Acupuncture is commonly used to treat pain and is used in smoking cessation to reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Research has shown that acupuncture can be used as a complementary method to help with the physical side effects of nicotine withdrawal. [28, 29]

Electronic cigarettes

An Electronic Cigarette or e-Cigarette is designed to physically look like a cigarette, right down to the glowing tip and vapor that is inhaled. When you puff on it, you inhale like you would with a normal cigarette, only instead of inhaling smoke you are inhaling a mist of liquid, flavorings, and nicotine. The e-cigarette was originally sold as a way for a smoker to get nicotine in places where smoking is not allowed, but now people are using it as a way to quit smoking. There has been no published research that suggests that these products work for helping you quit smoking. E-cigarettes are not regulated by the FDA, meaning more often than not the ingredients in them are not listed, making it difficult to know what is actually in them, and how safe these materials are to inhale. [10]

Herbs and supplements

The use of herbs and supplements such as Lobelia, St. John’s Wort, Oat Straw, Valerian, and Ginseng, have not been scientifically proven to help quit smoking. The idea behind herbal remedies is to help reduce the effects of nicotine withdrawal symptoms. These herbal supplements are not FDA approved, meaning the manufacturers do not need to prove that they are effective or are safe to use.


Hypnosis is a method used to help reduce the body’s dependence on nicotine. It works by attempting to change your subconscious motivations to smoke and ultimately changing the habits, associations, and/or triggers, which drive the behavior. Some studies have shown hypnosis methods to be ineffective in helping people quit smoking, but some people may find it useful. Start a conversation with your health care provider to learn more. [27]


Meditation works to improve self-control and attention with an attitude of openness. Among smokers, 2 weeks of meditation training (5 hours total) produced a significant reduction in smoking of 60%. A meditative approach found to work well in smokers involved body relaxation, mental imagery, and mindfulness training accompanied by a music background. Emphasize cooperation between the body and the mind to achieve the meditative state. As you meditate to quit smoking, exert no effort to control thoughts, but instead aim for a state of restful alertness that allows a high degree of body, mind and environment. [D]

Low-level laser therapy (cold laser therapy)

Low-level laser therapy utilizes cold lasers to activate acupuncture points on the body. This treatment attempts to relax the smoker and aid in the release of the body’s endorphins to help relieve pain. This release of endorphins mimics the effects of nicotine in the brain and balances the body’s energy to relieve the symptoms of nicotine dependence. There is no scientific evidence to prove that this method is successful.