A Chinese research team has found acupuncture to be as effective as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for helping people quit tobacco smoking. Although a total of 300 participants were recruited, the dropout rate was high (35 per cent) and so only 195 participants finished the trial. Participants were randomly assigned to receive acupuncture (Baihui DU-20, Lieque LU-7, Hegu L.i.-4, Zusanli ST-36, Sanyinjiao SP-6, Taichong LIV-3, Yintang M-HN-3 Neiguan P-6), auricular acupressure or NRT for a total of eight weeks, with follow-up at 16 weeks. The abstinence rate was 43 per cent at 24 weeks in the acupuncture group, which was similar to that in the NRT group (44 per cent), but significantly higher than in the auricular acupressure group (30 per cent). The time to relapse for acupuncture (44 days) was insignificantly longer than NRT (41 days), but significantly longer than for auricular acupressure (29.5 days). Nicotine dependence and withdrawal scores in the acupuncture group were significantly lower than those in the other two groups.
Efficacy of Acupuncture Is Noninferior to Nicotine Replacement Therapy for Tobacco Cessation: Results of a Prospective, Randomized, Active-Controlled Open-Label Trial. Chest. 2017 Nov 23. pii: S0012-3692(17)33126-4.