Can Acupuncture Help You Quit Smoking?

Can Acupuncture Help You Quit Smoking?

By: Tim Sobo • Posted on October 27, 2023

How to quit smoking with acupuncture

Quitting smoking may be one of the most important things you can do for your health. Unfortunately quitting can be very difficult. If you’re trying to quit smoking, acupuncture is a natural, side effect free way that might help you curb your cravings.

When getting treated with acupuncture, an acupuncturist will target certain areas of the body to treat various conditions. When it comes to smoking cessations, the points used in the ears are especially effective in suppressing cravings.

The National Acupuncture Detoxification Associations have an entire protocol specifically designed for smoking cessations. This protocol consists of five specific points in the ear. A smoking cessations treatment may include one ear or both, and usually will include a few points on the body as well.

How does acupuncture suppress smoking cravings?

The goal of treatment is not only to suppress cravings, but engage in a systemic whole body relaxation response to also aide in the decrease of withdrawal symptoms.

Patients who have acupuncture:

  • Have fewer cravings
  • Report decreased irritability
  • Report improved sleep
  • Report improved mood
  • Have a general sense of wellbeing

It is important to be in the right mental state and be ready to quit smoking which means being ok with the idea of throwing away cigarettes.

With acupuncture, most patients will not go from smoking a pack a day to none overnight. It is a gradual and consistent decrease in cravings which leads to a decrease in overall cigarette use. For example, patients go from smoking a pack a day and then down to 18, then treated again, down to 15, treated again, down to 12, etc. As treatment goes on, the cravings get less and the number of cigarettes smoked a day goes down.

Why acupuncture is a good treatment for smoking cessation

Acupuncture is promoted as a treatment for smoking cessation that can control withdrawal symptoms. Acupuncture combined with counseling and an educational smoking cessation program may be beneficial for most people.

Acupuncture studies have shown “that adequate acupuncture treatment may help motivate smokers to reduce their smoking, or even quit smoking completely, and the effect may last for at least 5 years. Acupuncture may affect the subjects' smoking by reducing their taste of tobacco and their desire to smoke.”

-Tim Sobo
Department of Wellness & Preventive Medicine
Appointments – 216 448 4325
Website - Wellness & Preventive Medicine | Cleveland Clinic

About Tim Sobo

Tim Sobo is board-certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and is licensed to practice acupuncture in the states of Ohio and New Jersey. He graduated from the New England School of Acupuncture (which is now part of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences) in 2012 with his Master in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree. He completed his undergraduate studies earning three Bachelor degrees from Penn State University in 2008. He also holds certifications in Personal Training (CPT) and Corrective Exercise Specialization (CES) from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Prior to joining the Cleveland Clinic in 2019, Tim practiced in New Jersey for 7 years alongside medical doctors and healthcare providers amongst many disciplines including sports medicine, neurology and neurosurgery, pain management, chiropractic care, and physical and occupational therapy.

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