Magnets to quit smoking

Other Ways to Quit Smoking

No one should smoke cigarettes, and every effort should be made to get smokers off all forms of tobacco and to prevent everyone – especially youth –from starting to use any tobacco product. Smokers are strongly advised to use proven cessation methods, such as prescription medications and counseling, to quit smoking. You may hear or read about other tools or methods to quit smoking besides nicotine replacement therapy or prescription drugs and whether they can help people quit smoking.

Cold turkey and gradual withdrawal

There’s no one right way to quit. A lot of smokers quit cold turkey – they stop completely, all at once, with no medicines or nicotine replacement. Some may start by smoking fewer cigarettes for a few weeks before they quit.

Another way is gradual withdrawal – cutting down on the number of cigarettes you smoke a little bit each day. This way, you slowly reduce the amount of nicotine in your body. You might cut out cigarettes smoked with a cup of coffee, or you might decide to smoke only at certain times of the day. It makes sense to cut down before your quit date in order to reduce withdrawal symptoms, but this can be hard to do.

Filters

Filters that reduce tar and nicotine in cigarettes do not help people quit smoking.

Smoking deterrents

Other methods have been used to help stop smoking, such as over-the-counter products that change the taste of tobacco, stop-smoking diets that curb nicotine cravings, and combinations of vitamins. At this time there’s no scientific evidence that any of these work.

Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)

E-cigarettes and similar devices are not approved by the FDA for use as smoking cessation aids. This is because there’s just not enough research or evidence yet.

Some people who smoke choose to try e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking. Stopping smoking clearly has well-documented health benefits. But smokers who switch to e-cigarette use still expose themselves to potentially serious ongoing health risks. It’s important to stop using all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, as soon as possible both to reduce health risks and to avoid staying addicted to nicotine.

Some people choose to use both cigarettes and e-cigarettes at the same time on an ongoing basis, whether they are trying to quit or not. This is known as “dual use.” The dual use of e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes can lead to significant health risks because smoking any amount of regular cigarettes is very harmful. People should not use both products at the same time and are strongly encouraged to completely stop using all tobacco products.

To learn more, see the American Cancer Society Position Statement on Electronic Cigarettes.

Tobacco lozenges and pouches

The FDA has ruled that lozenges, strips, and sticks that contain tobacco and small pouches of tobacco that you hold in your mouth are types of oral tobacco products much like snuff and chew, and are not smoking cessation aids.

There’s no evidence that these products can help a person quit smoking. And we know that oral tobacco products like snuff and chewing tobacco cause cancer.

Other forms of nicotine not approved by the FDA

Nicotine has been added to drinks, lollipops, straws, and lip balms which are marketed as quit tools. None of these are approved by the FDA, and, in fact, some are illegal in the US. None have been shown to help people quit smoking. They also pose a risk for children and pets if they are not well-labeled, carefully stored, and disposed of safely.

Hypnosis

Hypnosis methods vary a great deal, which makes it hard to study as a way to stop smoking. For the most part, reviews that looked at controlled studies of hypnosis to help people quit smoking have not found that it’s a quitting method that works. Still, some people say that it helps. If you’d like to try it, ask your health care provider to recommend a good licensed therapist who does hypnotherapy.

Acupuncture

This method has been used to quit smoking, but there’s little evidence to show that it works. Acupuncture for smoking is usually done on certain parts of the ears.

Magnet therapy

Magnet therapy to quit smoking involves 2 small magnets that are put in a certain spot, opposite each other on either side of the ear. Magnetism holds them in place. There’s no scientific evidence to date to suggest that magnet therapy helps smokers stop. There are many on-line companies that sell these magnets, and they report various “success” rates. But there’s no clinical trial data to back up these claims.

Cold laser therapy

This is also called low level laser therapy, and is related to acupuncture. In this method, cold lasers are used instead of needles for acupuncture. Despite claims of success by some cold laser therapy providers, there’s no scientific evidence that shows this helps people stop smoking.

Herbs and supplements

There’s little scientific evidence to support the use of homeopathic aids and herbal supplements as stop-smoking methods. Because they are marketed as dietary supplements (not drugs), they don’t need FDA approval to be sold. This means that the manufacturers don’t have to prove they work, or even that they’re safe.

Be sure to look closely at the label of any product that claims it can help you stop smoking. No dietary supplement has been proven to help people quit smoking. Most of these supplements are combinations of herbs, but not nicotine. They have no proven track record of helping people to stop smoking.

Mind-body practices

Some studies have looked at cessation programs using yoga, mindfulness, and meditation to aid in quitting smoking. Results were not clearly in favor of these methods, but some did show lower craving and less smoking. More research is needed, and studies of these practices are still going on. Cognitive processing methods (cognitive-behavioral approaches) are also being studied.

Zero Smoke – A Genuine Review

As more and more people all over the globe are trying to stop smoking, they are being barraged with contradictory information about the health hazards of smoking, the complexity of quitting, the incontestable social factors involved, and various other issues. As such, smoking cessation is fast becoming one of the most debated subjects today; and the search for newer and more effective stop-smoking-aids has turned into a deafening clamor.

A number of methods have been employed to identify the best treatment option to facilitate the process of quitting. However, to date, no definite technique has been discovered in spite of the appearance of various methods with questionable efficiency.

Acupuncture is a popular concept in smoking cessation, and its principles have been applied in different ways. In addition to actual acupuncture sessions, some methods that use acupuncture principles are cold laser therapy and, more recently, Zero Smoke magnets.

Like acupuncture, zero smoke magnets stimulate specific body points to stimulate endorphin production and influence the nerve centers that cause addiction. However, while the ancient practices of acupuncture have been successful for years, there is no sufficient evidence to support their modern adaptations. For this reason, in this Zero Smoke review, we will attempt to shed more light on this relatively unknown technique.

The primary difference between zero smoke and acupuncture is the stimulation points they are targeting. While acupuncture stimulates several regions in the body – such as in the case of smoking cessation acupuncture where the ear, nose, and wrists are stimulated – the zero smoke system focuses on only one point on the ear.

Another distinction is that acupuncture uses needles, whereas Smoke Zero uses magnets. The rationale behind this is that magnets have the same stimulating effects of acupuncture needles when positioned opposite each other on both sides of the ear. It is believed that the polarity of the pair of magnets is a powerful stimulator for this particular area because ear tissues are not too thick.

Feedback about this product has been divided. There are those who complain that Smoke Zero is a complete rip off because the product charges numerous hidden and additional costs. On the other hand, there are those users who attest that the smoke zero system does work. Unfortunately, on the whole, the negative response to the product seems greater than the positive. Although the few successful cases cannot be ignored, the failure rate should warn potential users to not expect too much.

In general, the lukewarm response to this type of quit smoking treatment is extremely discouraging. Because of this, we cannot, in good conscience, recommend the smoke zero product for your use.

Can magnets help kick the habit?

The product: If you’ve ever tried to give up smoking — or been around someone who has–you’ve probably discovered that quitting isn’t easy, even with the help of a patch, pill, gum or spray. Nicotine-replacement products work about 10% to 15% of the time. Prescription medications such as Zyban and the new drug Chantix can boost the odds for success to about 25% — but there’s still a roughly 100% chance of frayed nerves, foul moods and urges to light up.

That’s the addictive power of cigarettes: Even if smokers could somehow hook themselves up to a nicotine drip, they’d probably still crave another puff.

Smokers are undoubtedly eager for a quick, effective, misery-free way to quit. And as a product called Zerosmoke proves, many will happily walk around with magnets on their ears if they think it’ll improve the odds.

Zerosmoke is an acupressure product that promises to help smokers break their habit. Sold over the Internet for about $40 and advertised on TV, it consists of two small gold-plated magnets that fit on the top of the ear, one on the outside and one on the inside. The magnetic attraction keeps them in place and puts light pressure on the ear.

Users are instructed to wear the magnets two to four hours a day. They’re also told to keep smoking. Within seven days, ads claim, addicts will no longer feel the urge to keep lighting up.

The claims: According to the Zerosmoke TV spot, even serial quitters can finally give up cigarettes forever. “If you’ve tried everything and thought you could never quit,” the spokeswoman on the TV spot says, “Zerosmoke is the answer.” The magnets supposedly work by releasing “the same feel-good endorphins that smoking does.”

The Zerosmoke website claims an 80% success rate — which, if true, would make it far more effective than nicotine gum and patches or prescription medications. It also claims that more than 2 million smokers have tried the product.

Zerosmoke North America Inc., didn’t respond to requests for an interview.

The bottom line: Any claim of an 80% success rate for quitting smoking is immediately suspicious, says Dr. Michael Fiore, professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and the founder and director of the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention. No documented treatment comes close to such lofty numbers, he says.

In fact, there’s zero evidence that Zerosmoke or any other acupressure device can even modestly improve a smoker’s chances for quitting, Fiore says. “I feel a moral obligation to steer smokers toward treatments that are based on evidence,” he says. “And acupressure doesn’t meet that standard.”

A 2007 study of 19 smokers in England doesn’t inspire confidence. In addition to nicotine-replacement therapy and group counseling, 12 randomly selected patients received one or two acupressure beads to place on their ears. (Unlike Zerosmoke magnets, the beads stuck to the ear with an adhesive backing.) Seven others had no beads. Subjects in the acupressure group were told to press on the beads several times throughout the day.

During follow-up visits one and two weeks after quitting, the acupressure groups reported just as many withdrawal symptoms as the group that didn’t have the beads. No more follow-ups were possible, because just about all of the patients dropped out before the study was over. “We detected an initial enthusiasm for trying acupressure at the time of quitting but a marked lack of enthusiasm for the intervention at the end of the study,” the researchers wrote.

Dozens of studies have investigated acupuncture, a close cousin to acupressure, as an aid for quitting smoking. Two major reviews of existing science — including one by the U.S. Public Health Service — reached the same conclusion: There’s no evidence acupuncture helps smokers quit either.

The claim that Zerosmoke works by releasing endorphins does not make biological sense, Fiore says. As he explains, the brain chemical dopamine is what drives smoking addiction. A shortfall of dopamine, not endorphins, makes withdrawal so miserable.

Existing treatments are “far from perfect,” says Jed Rose, co-inventor of the nicotine patch and director of the Center for Nicotine and Smoking Cessation Research at Duke University Medical Center. “People are looking for a magic cure.”

If they’ve tried Zerosmoke, they’re likely still looking.

Curious about a health consumer product? Want the Healthy Skeptic to examine it? E-mail [email protected]

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You’re in good company. Author and humorist Mark Twain’s remark on this subject is classic: “Quitting smoking is easy. I’ve done it hundreds of times.” I applaud your continued efforts to become tobacco-free, and both acupuncture and hypnosis have been promoted as drug-free ways to quit the nicotine habit. Either therapy can help can you succeed, although there are no guarantees, and a newly published review of 14 international studies found mixed results for both methods.

Some studies have suggested that smokers who used acupuncture to help them quit were more successful at remaining tobacco free for a year than the more traditional cessation programs using nicotine replacement, medications, and behavioral counseling. One of these studies, from 2008, found that 55 percent of 258 smokers who had laser acupuncture quit smoking in six months, compared with only four percent who got sham acupuncture. But researchers in Taiwan who used needle acupuncture around the ear (the usual place when smoking cessation is the goal) reported that only nine percent of those treated had quit after six months compared with six percent who quit without treatment.

When the reviewers looked at studies of hypnosis for smoking cessation, they found that 20 to 45 percent of patients treated had quit smoking six months to a year later. Two other trials were less successful. The review was published online on April 13, 2012 in the American Journal of Medicine.

My colleague, Steve Gurgevich, Ph.D., an experienced hypnotherapist, has a high success rate, but he doesn’t accept patients unless he is convinced that they are truly motivated to quit. Even then, he doesn’t schedule them for hypnosis until they have completed a series of behavioral changes outlined in his program over a period of a month. He then sees them for three days in a row – the time needed for nicotine withdrawal. Dr. Gurgevich says he has found that the “motivation, belief, and expectation of the patient” are the keys to success; he claims a success rate for his program of 80-90 percent. He also has developed a two-CD audio program for smoking cessation.

If you’re looking for a local smoking cessation program, the American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests that any you consider meet the following criteria:

  • Each session lasts at least 15 to 30 minutes.
  • The program consists of at least four sessions.
  • The program lasts at least two weeks. (Longer usually is better.)
  • The leader of the group is trained in smoking cessation.

The ACS recommends Nicotine Anonymous (NicA), which applies the 12-step paradigm of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to smoking. This includes attending meetings and following the program. People new to NicA select a sponsor to assist them through the steps and help when they are tempted to smoke. The NicA meetings are free, but they do collect donations to help with expenses.

The ACS warns against programs that promise instant or easy success with no effort on your part, those that rely on injections or pills (especially those containing “secret” ingredients), those that charge very high fees (check with the Better Business Bureau if you have doubts), and those that refuse to provide references from people who have participated.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

There are countless quack devices and snake oil remedies out there. They are proliferating on the internet like a virulent virus, feeding off of desperation and scientific illiteracy, and largely unhindered by ineffective regulations. In fact (to continue my infectious metaphor) they have evolved effective resistance to the weak regulatory antibiotics that have been prescribed. There are far too many specific products for me to write about them all, but occasionally I decide to pick on one.

A new product recently caught my attention – Zerosmoke, a device that claims it can help smokers quit their addiction. In fact their advertising claims an 80% success rate. They give no references to any published evidence (or even in-house evidence, as worthless as that is) for their claims. The device is simply two magnets to be placed on either side of the ear, so that they stick together and provide pressure to the ear. How does this work? Their advertising states:

Zerosmoke® is a revolutionary treatment that uses two Auricular Therapy 24K gold coated magnets. When positioned opposite one another on a designated point of the ear, they exert prolonged, programmed, stimulating pressure that activates the neurotransmitters that eradicates the desire to smoke.

Wow, sounds scientific. It mentions neurotransmitters and everything. Of course this is absolute rubbish. There is no scientific basis for the notion that any particular point on the ear affects brain function, nicotine addiction, or the desire to smoke. But the producers of Zerosmoke did not make up this nonsense by themselves, this is based upon the idea of using acupressure on specific auricular points to aid in smoking cessation. There is even a literature on the topic, which shows very similar findings to the acupuncture literature. As this review states, studies show that there is no difference in effect if the acupressure is given in the “correct” location vs the “incorrect” or sham location. There are mixed results in terms of any acupressure vs other therapies, but of course this difference has not been blinded. The only variable that was blinded, real vs sham, showed no difference. To me this pattern is most compatible with no effect.

The advertising for this product also uses the typical marketing strategies of these dubious treatments. They claim that their product is “all natural.” What does that even mean with respect to magnets? Are there unnatural magnets? Is it natural for humans to have their brain chemistry altered by applying pressure to the ear?

Their website also declares that, “Zerosmoke N.A. is FDA listed and register.” (sic) This is probably true, but it is likely to be very misleading. Technically these magnets are a medical device, so they have to be registered as such with the FDA. The only requirement of such devices is that they are safe for their intended use. Such registration in no way depends upon proving efficacy or the validity of any claims. But mentioning the FDA is likely to mislead the unwary into thinking that the claims are approved by the FDA, which they are not. At least they include on the website (tucked in unobtrusively at the bottom) the standard required disclaimer, “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

Sure, much of this falls under the standard ethics of the free market and the “let the buyer beware” standard. But deception and manipulation in marketing is especially bothersome when medical claims are involved. Even though Zerosmoke is not a drug, it seems to me that any medical claims made for it should first have to pass some standard of scientific evidence. I’m not saying the company has to spend tens of millions of dollars in research, but at the very least the FDA could review existing research (it already exists) to see if the claims are warranted. Something would be better than nothing, in my opinion. But the current regulations do not provide for this.

So for the time being we will continue to be overwhelmed by an ever expanding contagion of dubious health products, and the only defense is a healthy skepticism.

Zerosmoke launches in national retailers, military bases

JUPITER, Fla. Zerosmoke this month launched its drug-free smoking cessation device into several retailers, including Wal-mart, CVS, Rite-Aid and Duane Reade, and Zerosmoke will be available on more than 150 Army, Navy and Marine bases starting shortly after the New Year, the company stated recently.

The Zerosmoke method of quitting smoking is based upon the principle of auricular therapy, or the stimulation of acupressure/acupuncture points in the ear. The product features two small magnets that are placed opposite each other on a determined point of the left ear. This magnetic acupressure therapy slowly eradicates a person’s desire to smoke. The magnets are plated in 24k gold in order to ensure the highest conduction properties and to eliminate allergic reactions.

Zerosmoke is also launching an extensive consumer-advertising campaign, though the company did not quantify its consumer ad budget, that will include national radio and television spots just as many smokers pledge to quit smoking with the new year. “We’re doing in-store marketing with demonstrations for like H-E-B,” Maury Winnick, Zerosmoke national sales manager, told Drug Store News. And because the device is drug-free, Zerosmoke is also test-marketing the product against smoking high-school students—students who shouldn’t be able to purchase either tobacco products or any smoking cessation products that contain nicotine. “We found a lot of these kids will pick up and use the product to get away from that addiction. … We’re just starting a marketing program right now to give to kids who are smoking.”

And while Zerosmoke can be used as a stand-alone therapy, the company noted, it can also be used in conjunction with other over-the-counter or prescription-drug therapies. “It can be used by people as they are using pills, patches, gum, etc., as an adjunct to those therapies” commented Bryan Frank, Zerosmoke medical consultant. “There is no contra-indication to using as a supplement … to one of the other common therapies.”

Zerosmoke Acupressure Magnet

Deciding to give up cigarettes is one of the smartest but most painful choices you will ever make for yourself. While your body will eventually thank you for clearer lungs and a longer life, the days and weeks after giving up smoking can be a real struggle.

You might find yourself suffering through intense nicotine withdrawals, severe headaches, bouts of insomnia, a sudden inability to concentrate, and even dealing with depression or anxiety.

And if you decide to try traditional nicotine replacement products, it could also be one of the most expensive choices you’ve ever made for better health.

That’s where the Acupressure Quit Smoking Patch comes into play. It uses the the science of Auricular Therapy to rid you of the agonizing symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. And it does it without the cost or addictive properties of typical quit smoking aids.

Using the principles of acupuncture to release the same endorphins you would get from smoking a cigarette, the Acupressure Quit Smoking Patch stimulates pain-relieving nerve receptors in your brain, getting rid of the nasty symptoms that would usually plague you when you stop smoking.

With the help of the two painless but powerful bio-magnets in the Acupressure Quit Smoking Patch, you can end the hold smoking has over you in as little as 7 days and finally ditch the stink and expense of cigarettes.

Don’t let fear of losing your nicotine crutch keep you from living your life. Try the Acupressure Smoking Patch today and you could be a non-smoker by next week!

It is advisable to buy 3 pieces for frequent use and to stop the smoking for life time.

Zerosmoke Review

Zerosmoke consists of a pair of 24-karat gold-plated magnets that attach to your ear, promising to cure you of the desire to smoke. The magnets, which are meant to be worn for two to four hours a day, supposedly trigger acupuncture pressure points on the outer ear to eliminate cigarette cravings by activating neurotransmitters in the brain.

It’s hard to find credible, independent evaluations of this product, although the Zerosmoke website contains several glowing reviews. We did find some interesting posts on Amazon.com, where a handful of users give Zerosmoke the lowest possible rating. One user says “the only people this product is going to help are the hopelessly suggestive and the predators that profit from selling to the suggestive.”

An unscientific test by TV station KVBC gets mixed results: One couple says they quit smoking for the week they wore Zerosmoke, while another test subject says the magnets were too painful to wear (a complaint echoed by other users). Some reviewers posting at ComplaintsBoard.com say the advertised 14-day free trial is deceptive, complaining that they were charged the full amount before their trial period expired.

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If you are trying to quit smoking, acupuncture is a natural way to help you curb your craving for nicotine. Acupuncture, along with Chinese herbs and hypnotherapy, may not be as well-known as nicotine patches or gum. But they all can offer relief, especially in the acute phase of withdrawal when you’re wrestling with fatigue, 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. In fact, it is very common to notice side benefits like improvements in sleep or mood. Others use acupuncture as part of an overall strategy to quit.

Targeting the ears

As an acupuncturist, I target certain areas of the body for certain conditions. When it comes to helping smokers quit, pressure points in the ears are especially effective in suppressing cravings. The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association supports an entire protocol around this set of ear suppression points for addiction.

In between acupuncture treatments, patients at home can use ‘ear seeds,’ a form of acupressure. This involves placing tiny balls on the ear with adhesive tape in targeted areas. This technique allows patients to self-treat by applying pressure to points on the ear to help temper the urge to smoke.

There’s a lot of theory behind the use of these pressure points. The cranial nerves, accessed through the ears, stimulate the nervous system to suppress the urge for cigarettes. We’re trying not only to suppress cravings, but also to engage the relaxation response.

Studies show that acupuncture promotes the brain to pump out endorphins, our feel-good hormones. We’re really manipulating the body using needles and targeted pressure to help support people as they work through withdrawal symptoms.

Studies on acupuncture

In my own practice, I’ve seen a great many patients who used acupuncture successfully for tobacco cessation. Commonly, patients report fewer cravings, decreased irritability, improved mood, improved bowel movements and improved sleep.

However, literature to date has shown mixed results. Some research finds that acupuncture’s use for all substance abuse is helpful when used along with conventional treatment to reduce cravings. But other studies, including research by the Cochrane Collaboration, has not found conclusive evidence of a significant effect.

Will it help me?

The goal of acupuncture is to help curb any cravings you have for the nicotine itself. Generally, I tell patients to be tobacco-free for at least 24 hours before their first consult for acupuncture. If they take that step, this tells me they have the mindset to be tobacco-free. Many times, a patient’s spouse has scheduled the appointment, or peer pressure spurs them to come in, and they’re not really ready.

If a patient is not ready to throw away the cigarettes in their pocket, that tells me they’re not mentally ready to quit.

Once patients are committed, I start seeing them two or three times per week in the beginning. Then the visits taper to once a week as withdrawal symptoms fade. Eventually, visits are discontinued altogether when they are tobacco-free.

Best when used with other methods

Acupuncture is even more effective as part of a multidisciplinary approach that involves other aspects of integrative medicine. These may include:

  • Hypnotherapy, or attempts to train the subconscious mind to veer away from tobacco, (Acupuncture works to address the physical withdrawal symptoms.)
  • Chinese herbs, which are customized by an herbalist for each patient to decrease urges and to help with withdrawal symptoms. As a safety precaution, clinicians monitor patients’ liver and kidney function closely to make sure the herbs are properly metabolized.

However you choose to find help, whether through a tobacco cessation program, acupuncture, herbs, hypnotherapy or a combination of methods, it’s all worthwhile because quitting smoking is the single most healthy change you can make for your overall well-being.

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