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Alternative quitting methods: are they right for you?

There are lots of quitting methods out there including alternative methods like hypnotherapy and laser treatment. Some of these make grand claims of quit success. Before you sign up or make a purchase, it helps to do a bit of research.

What to check before you choose a quitting method:

  • Is the success rate realistic? If there is a claim that more than 50% of people will stay quit for at least six months, be very cautious. Most people quit several times before they quit for good. Relapse is common.

  • Is the method provided by a well-known, credible organisation?

  • Is the practitioner properly trained to help people quit?

  • What is involved?

  • How many sessions are there? Less than four sessions might not help you quit, while most people don’t benefit from more than 10.

  • Do you have to do any work? Be cautious of options claiming you can quit without having to do anything!

  • How much does it cost? Be wary of expensive options. Some of the best services, like Quitline, are free. 

Here are some alternative methods and their chance of success:

  • Hypnotherapy: Supporting you to quit by placing suggestions in your mind to lessen your desire to smoke. It has not been proven that hypnotherapy increases long-term quitting chances. 

  • Acupuncture: Applying needles or surgical staples to the body. There is no clear evidence that acupuncture is an effective quitting aid.

  • Laser treatment: Applying lasers to specific acupuncture points on the body. There is no clear evidence to show that laser treatment is effective for quitting. 

  • Switching to lower nicotine and tar: People who smoke 'weaker' cigarettes end up inhaling the same amounts of tar and nicotine as from the so-called “full strength” varieties and have the same risk of smoking-related diseases. There is no evidence that switching to weaker tasting cigarettes reduces addiction or helps people quit.

There’s no silver bullet when it comes to quitting smoking. 

So what are the proven quitting methods?

The best way to quit for good is to use Quitline with a stop smoking medication like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or prescribed tablets. If using NRT, combination therapy is the most effective. Combination therapy is using a nicotine patch plus a faster-acting NRT type like mouth spray, lozenge or gum. Talk to your doctor about the best approach for you.

As with all methods, if you add Quitline you have a greater chance of success. Request a Quitline callback.

Last updated June 2022.

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