Nicotine Addiction

Nicotine Addiction

Related Terms

Tobacco Use Disorder; Smoking Addiction; Chemical Dependency, Cigarettes; Chemical Dependency, Nicotine; Chemical Dependency, Tobacco; Nicotine Withdrawal; Stop Smoking

Nicotine addiction (NA) is a physical tie to nicotine. If you stop using nicotine you will have physical symptoms until your body adjusts. Nicotine can be found in cigarettes, snuff, chewing tobacco, cigars, and pipes. Using these products can lead to health problems, such as cancer, lung conditions, and stroke.

Stopping nicotine slowly over time will help to ease symptoms. Standard treatments include nicotine replacement therapy, counseling, and medication. Setbacks happen.

Natural Therapies

Some people look to natural treatments to help stop smoking.

Likely Effective

  • Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles for symptom relief. It may help some stop smoking. Most found benefits were short term.A1-A4

Possibly Effective

  • Hypnotherapy is a form of psychotherapy. Evidence is limited, but it may increase smoking cessation in the short term.C1-C4
  • Mind-body practices include mindfulness meditation, yoga, and other relaxation tools. Evidence is limited, but it may increase abstinence.D1

Unlikely to Be Effective

The following supplements have been studied for their role in smoking cessation:

  • Lobeline is a chemical in an herb called Lobelia inflata. (Note: Lobelia can be toxic in large doses. It may cause serious side effects.)B3, B5
  • S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) —supplement (Note: SAMe should not be taken by people with bipolar disorder. It may also interact with medications used to treat Parkinson disease.)B4
  • St. John's Wort —plant-based supplements. (Note: St. John’s wort can weaken the effects of many medications.)B1, B2

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some may get in the way of treatment. They can also make illness worse or cause new problems. Examples include:

  • Lobeline can be toxic in large doses. It may cause serious side effects, such as seizures, rapid heartbeat, coma, and death.
  • SAMe (S-Adenosyl-L-methionine) should not be taken by people with bipolar disorder. It may worsen symptoms. It may also decrease the effectiveness of medications used to treat Parkinson disease. It may also interact with drugs and supplements that increase levels of serotonin, such as anti-depressants.
  • St. John’s Wort can weaken the effects of many medicine. Anti-depressants, birth control pills, blood thinners, and some cancer medicine are most likely to interact.

References

Acupuncture

A1. White A, Rampes H, et al. Acupuncture and related interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(1):CD000009.

A2. Cheng HM, Chung YC, et al. systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of acupoint stimulation on smoking cessation. Am J Chin Med. 2012;40(3):429-442.

A3. Tahiri M, Mottillo S, et al. Alternative smoking cessation aids: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Med. 2012 Jun;125(6):576-584.

A4. White AR, Rampes H, et al. Acupuncture and related interventions for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syt Rev. 2014 Jan 231):CD000009.

Herbs

B1. Parsons A, Ingram J, et al. A proof of concept randomised placebo controlled factorial trial to examine the efficacy of St. John’s wort for smoking cessation and chromium to prevent weight gain on smoking cessation. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009 Jun 1;102(1-3):116-122.

B2. Sood A, Ebbert JO, et al. A randomized clinical trial of St. John’s wort for smoking cessation. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Jul;16(7):761-767.

B3. Stead LF, Hughes Jr. Lobeline for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Feb 15;(2):CD000124.

B4. Sood A, Prasad K, et al. S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) for smoking abstinence: a randomized clinical trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Sep;18(9):854-859.

B5. Cahill K, Stevens S, Perera R, Lancaster T. Pharmacological interventions for smoking cessation: an overview and network meta-analysis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 May 31;(5):CD009329.

Hypnotherapy

C1. Carmody TP, Duncan C, Simon JA, et al. Hypnosis for smoking cessation: A randomized trial. Nicotine Tob Res. 2008;10:811-818.

C2. Barnes J, Dong CY, et al. Hypnotherapy for smoking cessation. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010 Oct 6;(10):CD001008.

C3. Tahiri M, Mottillo S, et al. Alternative smoking cessation aids: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Med. 2012 Jun;125(6):576-584.

C4. Hasan FM, Zagarins SE, et al. Hypnotherapy is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation: results of a randomized controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2014 Feb;22(1):1-8.

Mind-body Practices

D1. Carim-Todd L, Mitchell SH, et al. Mind-body practices: an alternative, drug-free treatment for smoking cessation? A systematic review of the literature. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2013 Oct 1;132(3):399-410.

Last reviewed May 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board
Last Updated: 6/14/2019

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