Hypnotherapy is more effective than nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation: Results of a randomized controlled trial


The efficacy of pharmacotherapy for smoking cessation is well documented. However, due to relapse rates and side effects, hypnotherapy is gaining attention as an alternative treatment option. The aim of this one-center randomized study was to compare the efficacy of hypnotherapy alone, as well as hypnotherapy with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), to
conventional NRT in patients hospitalized with a cardiac or pulmonary illness.

Methods: We evaluated self-reported and biochemically verified 7-day prevalence smoking abstinence rates at 12 and 26 weeks post-hospitalization. Patients (n = 164) were randomized into one of three counseling-based treatment groups: NRT for 30 days (NRT; n = 41), a 90-min
hypnotherapy session (H; n = 39), and NRT with hypnotherapy (HNRT; n = 37). Treatment groups were compared to a ‘‘self-quit’’ group of 35 patients who refused intervention.

Results: Hypnotherapy patients were more likely than NRT patients to be nonsmokers at 12 weeks (43.9% vs. 28.2%; p = 0.14) and 26 weeks after hospitalization (36.6% vs. 18.0%; p = 0.06). Smoking abstinence rates in the HNRT group were similar to the H group. There was no difference
in smoking abstinence rates at 26 weeks between ‘‘self quit’’ and participants in any of the treatment groups. In multivariable regression analysis adjusting for diagnosis and demographic characteristics, H and HNRT were over three times more likely than NRT participants to abstain
at 26-weeks post-discharge (RR = 3.6; p = 0.03 and RR = 3.2; p = 0.04, respectively).

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