Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation: A Randomized Trial


  1. Timothy Carmody, PhD
Research Fields: 
Addiction and Cessation

 The purpose of this study was to determine whether hypnosis would be more effective in helping smokers quit than standard behavioral counseling when both interventions are combined with nicotine patches (NP).  A total of 286 current smokers were enrolled in a randomized controlled smoking cessation trial at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.  Participants in both treatment conditions were seen for two 60-minute sessions, and received three follow-up phone calls and two months of NP.  At 6 months, 29% of the hypnosis group reported 7-day point-prevalence abstinence compared with 23% of the behavioral counseling group (relative risk [RR] = 1.27; 95% confidence interval: 0.84 to 1.92).  Based on biochemical- or proxy-confirmation, 26% of the participants in the hypnosis group were abstinent at 6 months compared with 18% of the behavioral group (RR = 1.44; 95% CI: 0.91 to 2.30).  At 12 months, the self-reported 7-day point-prevalence quit rate was 24% for the hypnosis group and 16% for the behavioral group (RR = 1.47; 95% CI: 0.90 to 2.40).  Based on biochemical- or proxy-confirmation, 20% of the participants in the hypnosis group were abstinent at 12 months compared with 14% of the behavioral group (RR = 1.40; 95% CI: 0.81 to 2.42).  Among participants with a history of depression, hypnosis yielded significantly higher validated point-prevalence quit rates at 6 and 12 months than standard treatment.  It was concluded that hypnosis combined with NP compares favorably with standard behavioral counseling in generating long-term quit rates.