New Laser Treatments Help Smokers Quit - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

1/29/2006

New Laser Treatments Help Smokers Quit

Researchers from Middlesex University studied 340 smokers who either received three laser treatments, four laser treatments or no laser treatments.  Nearly all who received four treatments stopped smoking, and about half the participants who received three treatments stopped smoking.

It worked for Anne Penman 13 years ago in Ireland and since then, she's opened dozens of laser therapy centers in Europe,and now, the're popping up all over the U.S.  But, before you get too excited about this new option understand that this is controversial and not approved by the FDA.

The theory is the laser works when it is aimed at pressure points on the ears, nose, hands and wrists to release endorphins that counter-act and reduce nicotine cravings. Penman says "a smoker's endorphins are constantly going up and down like that. What we do with the laser is create a nice balanced effect".

The principal investigator, Diane Poirier, says "right now, they are averaging a 69 percent success rate" but that means it doesn't work for 31 percent of the patients, which is about a third.  And it's not cheap...300 dollars for 4 laser sessions, counseling and a 24 hour hotline.

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