There are several traditional methods that have been shown to be effective in helping people stop smoking. Most treatments for quitting smoking can be broadly classified into two approaches:

  • Psychological/behavioral
  • Anti-smoking medication

There is no single approach to quit smoking that has been found effective for all people who smoke. As with all of these smoking interventions, findings are based upon research studies comparing one group with another.


Even so, individual results will vary and the treatment needs to be tailored to the person’s unique situation.

For example, even though research has not found hypnosis or acupuncture to be consistently effective to help people quit smoking, for some people it is highly effective.

Most research suggests that a combined intervention is often most effective over the long term. A combined approach uses both:

  • A behavioral intervention to address the "habit" of smoking
  • An anti-smoking medication to help with the physical dependency (reduce negative effects of nicotine withdrawal).

    See: Resources to Help Quit Smoking

It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss each of these in great detail; rather, this article will provide a review of all of the most substantiated methods to help people quit smoking, including a review of relative success rates and an index of reliable resources to help people quit smoking.

Dr. William Deardorff is a clinical health psychologist and specializes in providing psychological services to patients with chronic pain and spinal conditions. He has led a private practice for more than 30 years.

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