Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) or laser acupuncture is gaining more attention as an effective method for helping individuals to not only quit smoking cigarettes and vaping nicotine — but other addictions/negative habits like marijuana, alcohol, street drugs and even sugar.
Low level laser therapy utilizes low-level laser beam technology directed at specific energy points on the body located on the ears, forehead, nose, hands and feet. By stimulating these points, laser promotes reduced cravings, relief from withdrawal symptoms and overall well-being during the quitting process of nicotine.
The strengths of laser therapy for quitting smoking include the fact that it is non-invasive, painless and does not require the use of drugs or nicotine replacements. It is also a safe and holistic approach that takes direct aim at addressing the physiological and habit aspects of addiction. Because of these features, people are increasingly hearing first hand testimonials from people in their social network about it’s positive results.
With the above in mind, you may be asking yourself what are the success rates of quitting smoking using laser therapy versus other methods?
Traditional and Emerging Methods for Quitting Smoking
Traditional methods for smoking cessation include pharmaceutical options like Champix/Chantix (Verenicline) and Zyban (Bubropion). Others include nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) options such as nicotine patches and inhalers that deliver controlled amounts of nicotine. Rounding out this list is behavioural counselling, support groups, needle acupuncture and other emerging methods like smartphone based apps.
Lets take a closer look at demonstrable evidence of both traditional and emerging methods for smoking cessation and quitting nicotine consumption:
- Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT): NRT involves using products such as nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, or inhalers to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The success rate of NRT in helping individuals quit smoking varies, but one study by the New England Journal of Medicine presents only a lowly 9.9% abstinence rate after 1 year of use. Source: https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/nejmoa1808779.
- Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes): E-cigarettes are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine in the form of vapour. The success rate of e-cigarettes in helping individuals quit smoking demonstrates an uninspiring 15% abstinence rate after 24 weeks of use. Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29304395/.
- Bupropion: Bupropion is an antidepressant medication that can help people quit smoking by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The success rate of bupropion presents only a 13.6% smoking cessation rate after 1 year of use. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5286845/.
- Varenicline: is another prescription medication that can help individuals quit smoking by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms for nicotine. The success rate of Varenicline shows a 6.2% smoking cessation rate after 1 year of use. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5286845/.
- Group support: Group support can help individuals quit smoking by providing encouragement, motivation, and accountability. Group support can be in the form of in-person support groups or online communities. The success rate of group support varies — however one study demonstrates a noteworthy 35.5% quit rate after 4 weeks. Source: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02446.x.
- Telephone quit-lines: Telephone quit-lines provide individuals with access to trained counselors who can provide support and advice on quitting smoking. The success rate of telephone quit-lines in helping individuals quit smoking is not overly impressive, this study presents a 9.1% success rate after 1 year. Source: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa020660.
- Exercise: It is theorized that regular physical activity may help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms from nicotine mainly attributable to endorphin release. Surprisingly, there being a “low-certainty evidence” demonstrating. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6819982/.
- Hypnosis/Hypnotherapy: Hypnosis involves inducing a state of deep relaxation and increased suggestibility to help individuals overcome cravings and quit smoking. The success rate of hypnosis in helping individuals quit smoking varies. One study demonstrates a 24% cessation rate at 1 year. Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18569754/.
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): CBT is a type of talk therapy that can help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviours related to smoking. Quit Genius (Palego) is one leading organization utilizing this approach. The success rate of CBT in helping individuals quit smoking is 22.6% at 1 year as presented by one journal article. Source: https://academic.oup.com/ntr/article/24/11/1763/6574261.
- Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: meditation and deep breathing techniques are reported by some sources to help individuals manage stress and cravings associated with quitting smoking/nicotine. However — demonstrable scientific evidence is not yet strong. Among these methods, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MCBT) shows some effectiveness. It is the author’s professional and anecdotal opinion that mindfulness based techniques seem most beneficial for the purposes of quitting smoking when combined with other smoking cessation methods versus being utilized independently. Sources: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35420700/, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320314605_Effectiveness_of_Mindfulness-Based_Cognitive_Therapy_on_Reducing_Smoking_among_Addicts and https://ctri.wisc.edu/2021/12/02/mindfulness-app-helps-people-avoid-smoking/.
- Smartphone Based Apps For Smoking Cessation: The goal of these apps is to support and motivate users via a combination of features that include tracking/monitoring their smoking habit, setting goals, suggestions for coping with cravings, reminders, financial tracking, gamification and more. Success rates are hard to demonstrate due to user adherence. Current evidence implies they are best utilized in combination with other cessation methods to boost results versus being used alone. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10160935/.
- Acupuncture using needles: Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The success rate of needle acupuncture in helping individuals quit smoking varies considerably in scientific studies — this is in large part attributable to different acupuncture methodologies/styles being employed and lack in congruity of application. Laser acupuncture due to it’s inherently more modern form of delivery using sophisticated equipment and application to targeted tissues using laser light lends itself by design to a much more quantifiable and calculated approach. It is in the author’s clinical experience that laser acupuncture promotes significantly more consistent and measurable results then needles. One interesting parallel when comparing needle and laser acupuncture for the purposes of smoking cessation is that both promote increased benefit when combined with counselling/coaching and educational smoking cessation program. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6662782/.
In summary, most of the above methods demonstrate weak scientific support for smoking cessation and quitting nicotine consumption purposes. The exceptions to this are group counselling sessions, mindfulness based techniques/MCBT, coaching/counselling, educational programs and smart phone based apps. These exceptions if utilized — should be combined with a more proven methodology and not alone for optimal results.
Low Level Laser Therapy For Quitting Smoking — An Effective Smoking Cessation Methodology
Low level laser therapy or laser acupuncture is an effective alternative to the methods presented above. Just because it is still largely ignored and not presented as a smoking cessation method by the vast majority of professionals working in the western medical model to their patient’s — does not mean it is not effective.
One of the best designed laser acupuncture studies that Lazer Dave utilizes with his Ottawa Laser Quit Smoking Program treatments demonstrates an 87.5% effectiveness rate. Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29937971/.
The Ottawa Laser Solutions Laser Quit programs combines both a clinically effective intervention methodology and coaching incorporating Lazer Dave’s Prep Guide, habit change/mindfulness suggestions, recommended smartphone apps and more.
It is important to note that the effectiveness rates presented above are not absolute and individual experiences may differ. While laser therapy can significantly increase the chances of quitting smoking, it is not a magical cure and requires a genuine desire and commitment from the smoker to maximize results. Results are not guaranteed.
Always consult with your doctor regarding any health concern, changes in medications or similar.
For more information regarding the Ottawa Laser Quit Smoking Program, please follow this link: https://ottawalasersolutions.com/ottawa-kanata-westboro-nepean-quit-stop-smoking-laser-therapy/.