J Subst Abuse. 1998 ; 10(3): 265-74.
Electrical stimulation therapy in the treatment of cigarette smoking.
University of Sheffield, UK. [email protected]
In this study electrical stimulation therapy (EST) is explored as a possible new treatment for smoking cessation within a randomized controlled trial. The investigation follows reports of several authors that electrical stimulation applied to specific acupuncture points is effective in treating a variety of drug dependencies, including cigarette smoking. Three key features of treatment (electrical stimulation, frequency modulation, and electrode placement), were investigated in a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial design, resulting in eight treatment combinations. Out of 265 smokers recruited into the trial 216 completed the one-week treatment. Outcome was assessed in terms of complete abstinence from smoking and symptomatic relief of withdrawal symptoms. Smokers receiving active electrical stimulation obtained higher abstinence rates than those in the inactive groups although the difference did not achieve statistical significance (all active vs. all placebo groups: lambda 1,1(2) = 0.50, p > 0.10, 95% confidence interval = -8.04 to +17.44%; most effective vs. least effective group: lambda 1,1(2) = 3.11, p = 0.08, CI0.95 = -2.2 to +48.8%). The efficacy of electrical stimulation therapy for smoking is not supported.