Laser Therapy vs. Other Methods For Smoking Cessation


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:

  1. 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:
  2. 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:
  3. 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:
  4. 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:
  5. 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:
  6. 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:
  7. 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:
  8. 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:
  9. 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:
  10. 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:, and
  11. 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:
  12. 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:

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:

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.


In Summary

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:

Laser Acupuncture Multiple Laser Diodes

Choosing A Laser Therapist

How Do I Choose A Laser Therapist?

More and more health professionals such as massage therapists, physiotherapists, acupuncturists, naturopaths, nurses and more are offering laser therapy in their practice to treat pain, inflammation, speed healing of injuries, quitting addictions like quitting smoking and more.

This is good news! As it means that despite mainstream medicine being slow on recommending this powerful healing therapy (even with increasing scientific support) — clinical results are speaking for themselves. More people are recognizing and talking about laser therapy then ever before as demand continues to grow.

Despite all the good news surrounding laser light therapy, there are some potential pitfalls to avoid or minimize when looking for a professional that offers this service. Fortunately, Lazer Dave has been specializing in and using laser therapy in his health practice for 15+ years so has some key recommendations to consider:

  • CHOOSE A PROPERLY TRAINED, EXPERIENCED AND QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL. A professional that has a strong background in anatomy, physiology and physical therapy skills is very important to maximize laser therapy results and ensure safe application. Laser therapy onto itself is unregulated in Canada and there are plenty of  “laser technicians” operating in the market place with very minimal training. Best to go with someone who has a background in massage therapy, physiotherapy or similar.
  • OPTIMAL LASER DOSE. For optimal laser therapy results — factors such as duration, treatment frequency, power and ultimately “energy dose” (measured in joules/cm2) must be carefully considered. These treatment plan variables need to be customized to each individual patient based on critical healthy history factors such as age, general health, medications, skin pigmentation and more. Some individuals are extremely sensitive to laser and respond very quickly with a lower dose and others need a slightly higher dose for optimal and favourable results. A proficient laser therapist will consider all these factors proactively before your first treatment in order to formulate a tailored laser dose just for you that will maximize both short and long term results.
  • LESS IS MORE. It is Dave’s experience and an extension of the theory behind Arndt Schultz’s Law that weak stimuli excite physiological activity, moderate stimuli favor it, and strong stimuli arrests it. This simply means that overstimulation of tissues with laser is a risk and all to common mistake that beginner, unqualified and inexperienced therapists often make. This requires a therapist to utilize a disciplined and methodical approach acquired by training and years of experience treating different health concerns.

Lazer Dave applies all the above principles and methodologies in his treatments plus he has years of clinical experience to promote optimal laser therapy results. If you can’t be treated by Dave, make sure you choose a professional who not only has the optimal background and training with laser — pick someone who is not in a hurry and able to spend the appropriate amount of time with you in order to fully comprehend your unique needs. This will help to maximize your investment of time and money into a treatment plan utilizing laser therapy.


Questions To Ask When Choosing A Laser Therapy Professional

Considering the above principles, variables and concerns that promote optimal laser therapy results — here are some questions you might want to have answered when doing your researching for a proficient laser therapy professional. Check out their website, look for positive video testimonials, social media ratings or a personal consultation with them on the phone at least if the information you are looking for is not readily available online.

Remember, laser therapists and laser therapy is an unregulated therapy in Canada. This means that someone with NO background or training in anatomy, physiology, physical therapy, etc. and say an hour introductory course can say technically state they are “laser professional”. In particular, the trend seems that those that use the term “laser technician” should be scrutinized as they often DO NOT have a regulated health professional background.

  • WHAT QUALIFIES A PROFESSIONAL TO OFFER LASER THERAPY IN THEIR PRACTICE? Start with asking yourself is it even obvious who exactly will be treating you by personal name when researching a clinic that offers laser therapy? Does the professional have training or a background as a regulated health professional such as massage therapy, acupuncture, naturopathy, nursing or similar? How many courses have they completed on laser therapy? Where did they get their training? Do they pursue continuing education? How do they stay up-to-date on the latest clinical approaches and scientific research? If the answers are not clear —  this should raise red flags.
  • WHAT IS THEIR EXPERIENCE USING LASER THERAPY? What conditions does this therapist treat using laser therapy? How long have they been using laser therapy in their practice? Can they readily supply documented examples of positive treatment outcomes? What is their success rate? What about potential negative side effects and what steps do they take to minimize them? How about credible testimonials — do they have any posted on their website or YouTube? What kind of google reviews do they have? What does social media have to say about them? How do they respond to questions via social media? Do they even have a social media presence? If you cannot readily find this information via their website — the clinic likely utilizes the services of a “laser technician” versus a “laser therapist” with a regulated health professional background.
  • WHAT LASER THERAPY EQUIPMENT DO THEY USE? What brand of laser therapy equipment does the professional uses in their practice? If this is not presented on their site — they could be using substandard equipment. Where does it come from? When was it last serviced? How long has the manufacturer of the equipment they use been making lasers? Is the equipment Health Canada Approved? How long has the professional been using their particular laser system? How many laser diodes/probes do they use in treatments? Most “laser technicians” only use 1 probe while “laser therapists” tend to use more for optimal results.
  • CLINIC LOCATION. Where does the laser therapist practice from? Do they work with other health care professionals? Is the office or clinic location they offer their services from in a professional, clean and easy to access location? Office or clinic location is an important indicator of a laser therapist’s credibility.
  • PRICES. Are prices clearly quoted on their website? How many treatments are included with their fee’s? How much are additional or “booster” treatments if needed? Do their prices seem especially discounted? Do they include appetite suppression points with treatment or charge an exorbitant extra fee of an extra $100 for these 2-3 energy points which take very little extra time and effort to treat in addition to stimulating the core energy points? Good quality laser therapy equipment and training is not inexpensive , so it is only fair a good laser therapist should be adequately compensated for their investment into equipment, training and their specialized skills/knowledge they offer in the community and general market place.

If the majority of the questions above cannot be clearly or professionally answered — it should raise some serious concerns and may mean the “professional” you are considering offers substandard service and success rates.


Why Choose Lazer Dave?

Lazer Dave is Ottawa’s premiere laser therapy expert.

This is backed up by his 15+ years of clinical experience treating a myriad of health concerns, top notch European laser therapy equipment from Germany, high success rates, massage therapy training/background, anatomy expertise, physiology knowledge, hours of laser therapy training, commitment to continuing education and staying up-to-date on the latest research and developments in the field of laser and PBM (photobiomodulation) thearapy.

This combined expertise can be best summarized as “The Lazer Dave Advantage”. For more details on The Lazer Dave Advantage and Dave’s professional qualifications — check out the page “Why Choose Dave?”


About Lazer Dave

Want to know a little more personal info about Lazer Dave and his laser story?

Check out the “About Lazer Dave” page.


Is Laser Therapy Safe?

What Is Laser Therapy?

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive treatment that stimulates certain areas of the body with low-powered lasers. Research has shown laser therapy to be efficient in treating various issues such as pain, injuries and addictions. But is it safe?

Is Laser Therapy Safe?

To put it simply, yes, laser therapy is considered to be generally very safe. It has been used for many years and has demonstrated its efficacy with only a few reported side-effects via rigorous scientific studies and clinical application. The only precaution for every treatment is that patients must wear specialized glasses to protect against laser entering their eyes — these glasses will be provided by a therapist.

Potential Contra-indications

In regards to contra-indications, there are relatively few absolute contra-indications for laser therapy. The two main ones are that laser therapy is not applied over the fetus area when someone is pregnant (elsewhere is safe) and laser is not applied over any known malignancy or cancerous area. In addition, certain glands should be avoided such as the thalamus. Almost all medications are safe with laser therapy. In some cases when someone is taking a medication that makes them photosensitive, adjustments are made in terms of dosage to minimize minor adverse reactions. With this being said, it is important during a health history intake with a laser professional to disclose all information related to medications and health issues.

No Risk Of Burning With Low-Level Laser Therapy

The main reason this therapy is considered so safe is because it utilizes low-level lasers that do not create heat or cause any harm to the skin or tissues underneath. Low-level laser therapy can even be applied over metal and ceramic implants in the joints or similar. Laser therapy is a gentle modality that works by supplying energy to the targeted areas of body in the form of billions of photons of light that on a cellular level is transformed into chemical energy. This chemical energy is then utilized by the body to commence accelerated tissue repair and other strong healing effects.

In conclusion, laser therapy is considered to be a very safe treatment that promotes strong healing responses in the body.