Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


Objective: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not hypnotherapy is an effective treatment in smoking cessation in comparison to alternative methods?

Study Design: Systematic review of 3 English language primary studies, published between 2013-2014.

Data Sources: Three randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published on/after 2013 comparing the use of hypnotherapy to alternative methods in the treatment of smoking cessation. The other methods include nicotine replacement therapy, relaxation therapy and single versus group hypnotherapy and were obtained using the Cochrane Library and PubMed.

Outcomes Measured: The outcome of each study measured the effects of hypnotherapy by selfreported smoking abstinence and counting the number of cigarettes smoked per day at various follow up intervals.

Results: Dickson-Spillman and co-authors showed there was no significant difference in reported abstinence rates at the 2-week follow up (p=0.13) and the 6-month follow up (p= 0.73). In addition to the 2 week follow up, there was no significant difference between the mean number of cigarettes smoked in the past 7 days when comparing hypnotherapy to relaxation therapy (p = 0.69). Hasan and co-authors demonstrated patients receiving hypnotherapy versus nicotine replacement therapy were more likely to remain abstinent at 12 and 26 weeks post hospitalization, although there was no significant difference (p= 0.14 and 0.06, respectively). Riegel found at the end of treatment, group therapy reported a 48.2% quit rate whereas individual therapy reported a 37.9% quit rate with a 95% CI [0.61,3.80]. At the 3 month follow up, GT reported a 19.6% quit rate whereas IT reported a 13.8% quit rate with a 95% CI [0.44,5.30]. There were minimal to no adverse side effects reported in all three studies.

Conclusion: Hypnotherapy does appear to aid in smoking cessation; however, based on the findings in the three studies addressed in this review, there is not a statistically significant difference when using hypnotherapy to treat smoking cessation compared with alternative methods. The use of hypnosis to treat smoking cessation along with its treatment for other psychotherapies and addictions will likely be further explored in the future.