Can’t Quit Smoking? Try Lasers!

By Kirwan Gray 07/18/11

Low-level laser therapy, big in Europe, is getting bigger in the U.S.

At least you go home relaxed.
Photo via freedomlasertherapy

Okay, maybe patches and lozenges and Chantix haven’t worked. You’re still smoking, and everybody hates you. So you go New Age—but acupuncture and meditation don’t cut it, either. Everybody hates you even more. Perhaps it’s time for a complete leap into the unknown with low-level laser therapy (LLLT), a popular though mainly untested treatment therapy in Europe. It is essentially a form of acupuncture with cold light lasers. Low-level laser therapy for nicotine addiction is now available in Connecticut, Florida, and other states. As a Florida clinic explains it: “By naturally elevating levels of endorphins, laser therapy allows you to eliminate nicotine from your body while avoiding the cravings, stress, and irritability most commonly associated with withdrawal.” That’s the (mostly unproven) theory, anyway.

The laser is a low-powered (cold) laser and the procedure is non-invasive. Since it has been approved for use in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, and there have been a few scattered clinical trials, mostly in China, advocates have at least something to hang their hat on. “The low-level laser therapy operates on the principles of acupuncture to alleviate symptoms which occur when quitting smoking. During a session, the laser is applied to specific points on the ears, face, hands and wrist which are associated with addiction and appetite suppression.” And now you know exactly as much as we know about the subject.

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