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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 195714, 8 pages
Original Article

A Standardized Transcutaneous Electric Acupoint Stimulation for Relieving Tobacco Urges in Dependent Smokers

1Moleac Pte Ltd, Helios Building #09-08, 11, Biopolis way, Singapore 138667, Singapore
2Service de Pharmacologie, Groupe Hospitalier Universitaire Pitié-Salpêtrière-Faculté de médecine Paris 6-Inserm U677, Paris, France
3Department of Anaesthesia, National University Hospital, 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119074, Singapore
4Clinical Trials and Epidemiological Sciences, National Cancer Centre, 11 Hospital Drive, Singapore 169610, Singapore
5National Healthcare Group, 6 Commonwealth Lane, Level 6 GMTI Building, Singapore 149547, Singapore
6Neuroscience Research Institute, Peking University, 38 Xue Yuan Road, Beijing 100083, China

Received 8 June 2008; Accepted 14 October 2008

Copyright © 2011 Caroline Lambert et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The efficacy of acupuncture in smoking cessation, and its effect on the urge to smoke are unclear. We evaluated the effect of a standardized protocol of transcutaneous electric acupoint stimulations (TEAS) on alleviating the urge to smoke. Ninety-eight smokers were recruited in two double-blind studies. Participants abstained from smoking for 26 h, and were randomized to receive TEAS alternating between 2 and 100 Hz at four acupoints (LI4 and PC8, PC6 and TE5) at four different intensities (10, 5, Intermittent 5 or 0 mA). The urge to smoke was assessed by the Questionnaire of Smoking Urges (QSU-Brief). In Experiment 1, the 10 mA group (n = 20) was compared with the 5 mA group (n = 20); the increase in smoking urges did not differ significantly. Considering the possibility that 5 mA may be an active intervention, in Experiment 2, a true placebo (0 mA), and a proxy of placebo [Intermittent 5 mA (i5 mA)] were compared with 10 mA TEAS. In this experiment, 10 mA (n = 20) TEAS showed a tendency to alleviate smoking urges compared with 0 mA (n = 16), and i5 mA (n = 19) TEAS. Only when the data of smokers with Fagerstöm Test for Nicotine Dependence score ≥5 were analyzed that the difference between the 10 mA group and the control group (0 and i5 mA) became significant. Based on these preliminary findings, we conclude that TEAS applied on the skin may antagonize the increase in urge to smoke in abstinent-dependent smokers. It seems warranted to assess the efficacy of TEAS in smoking cessation clinical trials involving a larger population of dependent smokers.