The best alternative treatment for . . . Stopping smoking:What to do instead

* Hypnotherapy and acupuncture may be able to help with smoking addiction (Med Clin North Am, 2004; 88: 1607-21)

* Take Rhodiola rosea, a plant is used in Eastern European and Asian traditional medicine. It is claimed to have an antidepressant effect that could ease the negative feelings associated with quitting smoking (Altern Med Rev, 2001; 6: 293-302)

* Try taking glucose tablets to keep your blood sugar levels from dropping. A small body of evidence suggests that low blood sugar triggers cravings (CNS Drugs, 2001; 15: 261-5)

* Transcendental Meditation reduces stress and has been linked to helping people to succeed in stopping smoking (Aust Fam Physician, 2002; 31: 164-8)

* Enlist the help of others. Having the support of a counsellor or joining a support group increases the chances of success. The quit rate associated with behavioural support is about the same as for nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), but without the side-effects. Individual counselling is the most effective form of behavioural support (BMJ, 2000; 321: 355-8) and combining it with NRT, if appropriate, offers the best long-term chances of success (BMJ, 2004; 328: 397-9)

* Self-help aids such as motivational books may help to quit smoking, though they’re not as effective as behavioural support (BMJ, 2000; 321: 355-8)

* Seek the help of groups such as QUIT (e-mail:, an independent charity which aims to save lives by helping smokers to stop (tel: 0800 002 200). It also offers free, individual, same-day advice via e-mail (

* Try calling the NHS Smoking Helpline (0800 169 0169); see for more smoking-related information

* Use willpower! Ultimately, you will never quit smoking if you don’t want to.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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