The World Health Organization has set today as World No Tobacco Day. They remind us that tobacco kills around 6 million people each year. More than 5 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while more than 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
As I've observed in my own practice, acupuncture is a very effective method to help those who wish to "say no" to tobacco use. Jamie Starkey, Lead Acupuncturist at the Cleveland Clinic's Center for Integrative Medicine, shared the following thoughts on acupuncture and smoking cessation:
Acupuncture may not be as well known as nicotine patches or gum, but it can offer relief, especially in the acute phase of withdrawal when you’re wrestling with anxiousness, irritability and gnawing cravings. Some people try acupuncture because they cannot tolerate the drugs used for tobacco cessation. Unlike prescription medications, acupuncture has no side effects and it can offer additional benefits for sleep quality and mood. It is not recommend to be used in conjunction with nicotine patches or gum, but in lieu of. Additionally, as with any tobacco cessation therapy, it is important that each participant be committed and be prepared to self-identify as “a non-tobacco user”.