Different Ways to Quit Smoking

Injection

An injection of "Di L'ishun" (Smoke-out)

Cost: NIS 1,560. Explanation from the staff at the Di L'ishun clinic (Tel: 03-6916570), whose medical director is Prof. Shimon Spitzer: "The patient undergoes an EKG and lung function test and is interviewed by a psychologist. If the results are normal, the patient receives an injection containing several substances that immediately neutralize the body's dependency on nicotine. The injection has side effects for a few hours, including contraction of the pupils, fatigue, headache and dizziness, so the patient has to come to the clinic with someone else, and is not allowed to drive afterward. The day after the injection the patient receives additional drug therapy and a psychological consultation, tailored to his or her needs, to reinforce the effect of the injection. The method boasts a 75 percent success rate. If necessary, the patient can receive an additional injection." The patient must come to the clinic for three group meetings with a psychologist in the weeks following the treatment, and may come for more meetings.

Number of testers: 5

Number of quitters after a month: 3

Number of quitters after a year: 2

Three of the five testers succeeded in quitting. One of them went back to smoking a month later, even though he received an additional injection. The other two still don't smoke. They claimed the main effects of the treatment are in the days immediately following the injection, but thereafter the success depends mainly on the willpower of the patient.

The two testers who didn't quit smoking also didn't follow the clinic's instructions - they did not come to the support meetings and did not ask for another injection.

Di L'ishun responds: "The results were satisfactory, although had the two testers who didn't manage to quit come to the support meetings, and accepted our offer of another injection, their chances of success would have been much greater."

Patches

Nicotine patches

Cost: NIS 110 at Superpharm outlets for seven patches, NIS 990-1,760 for a full course of treatment, depending on the duration. Available at pharmacies.

Explanation from the consumer information booklet: "The patches contain nicotine that is slowly released from the patches and helps to make it easier to quit smoking by preventing all the withdrawal symptoms.

The preparation is available in three strengths, in order to facilitate gradual cessation [of the urge to smoke].

Treatment takes between nine and 16 weeks, depending on the number of cigarettes smoked daily by the person trying to quit." During treatment with the patches, no smoking is allowed, because there have been reports of disruptions of heart function in people who continued to smoke while wearing a patch.

Number of testers: 4

Number of quitters after a month: 2

Number of quitters after a year: 1

Only one tester, who fully followed all the directions written in the booklet, succeeded in giving up smoking and has not smoked for over a year.

The other testers did not follow the directions meticulously.

One continued to smoke while wearing a patch and the other two did not use the patches for the full recommended period.

One of them went back to smoking immediately and the other tester, who continued trying to quit without using the nicotine patches, refrained from smoking for 11 months but then broke down and started the habit again. "I had already quit completely, but one drag of a cigarette when I was out socially made me go back to smoking," she said.

Energy

Natural energy therapy - the Center for Rehabilitation from Smoking and Uncontrolled Eating.

Cost: NIS 900. Explanation from the center: "This therapy is given by Tomer Seker, an energy therapist. Each treatment lasts about an hour and combines music, light and energy transfers. If the patient encounters difficulties later on, he can come back for three reinforcement treatments. If he does not succeed in quitting smoking after that, his money is refunded. This method has an 86-percent success rate."

After the treatment patients must not eat or drink for three hours, must abstain from drinking hot beverages for five days at the beginning of the course of therapy and must walk for an hour every day. (Tel: 1-800-988-292. Further details and recommendations from quitters available at www.quitsmoking.co.il).

Number of testers: 5

Number of quitters after a month: 1

Number of quitters after a year: 0

Only one tester managed to quit smoking, for two and a half months. All the others went back to smoking within a few hours or days of ending the treatment. Only two testers persevered with all of Seker's requirements, and one of them is the one who quit smoking. All the other testers succeeded only in fasting for three hours after each treatment. None of them asked for reinforcement sessions. The four testers who were unable to quit admitted that had they been asked to pay the full cost of the treatment they would have tried harder and would have gone for all the treatments. The tester who succeeded in quitting said the treatment boosted his efforts to succeed, but was not the main factor.

The Center for Rehabilitation from Smoking and Uncontrolled Eating responds: "The treatment is given to thousands of clients, and according to objective statistics, 86 percent of those treated quit. The testers did not undergo the full treatment and therefore cannot make an objective assessment of it."

Acupuncture I

Acupuncture - Hermon-Man Clinic

Cost: NIS 600. Explanation from the Hermon-Man clinic (Tel: 03-5271988): "The directors of the clinic are Dr. Roni Hermon and Dr. Avi Man - conventional medical doctors. The treatment is administered using acupuncture needles that are inserted one millimeter into the skin, and they release the body from its dependency on nicotine. The course of therapy includes three half-hour treatments over a seven-day period. After the needles are removed the patient returns to normal activity. This method has a 70-percent success rate. The acupuncture therapy can be combined with injections. An additional therapy session is available if the urge to smoke is still bothersome."

Patients are required to abstain from smoking for 12 hours after each treatment. If this is too hard, they are allowed to take two drags on a freshly lit cigarette and then put it out.

Number of testers: 5

Number of quitters after a month: 3

Number of quitters after a year: 2

Three of the five testers stopped smoking, though one of them started again after a few months. Four of the testers consistently followed the requirements of the treatment, and one of them was unable to quit smoking. The other tester who was unsuccessful did not come for the third treatment and reported uncomfortable physical sensations resulting from the treatments.

The Hermon-Man clinic responds: "The results are satisfactory. It is a pity the tester who went back to smoking after a few months did not ask us for help and that not all the testers completed the treatment.

Acupuncture II

Acupuncture - Maccabi HMO

Cost: NIS 60 for first session for holders of Maccabi Magen supplementary health insurance; NIS 480-600 for full course of treatment. Explanation from Maccabi Natural: "Acupuncture via fine needles along the meridians opens and balances the energy flow, which aids in healing. The extent of the treatment depends on the smoking habits of the patient. The treatment usually consists of 8-10 sessions of 30-40 minutes."

Number of testers: 4

Number of quitters after a month: 0

Number of quitters after a year: 0

None of the testers succeeded in quitting smoking. Only one tester persevered and kept all her appointments for treatment. The others only went for a few treatments and did not complete the full course. Three of the testers quit smoking for a few days after the first treatment but later went back to smoking as usual. The fourth tester stopped smoking for only a few days. One of the testers told the therapist after four treatments that he had not quit smoking. He subsequently received a phone call from the HMO's offices. "I was asked if I really want to continue with the treatment, because there is a long waiting list, so I said no." Two testers said the treatment was too aggressive for them and one stopped.

Maccabi Natural, Ramat Aviv: "We checked into the claim of the tester who said she was phoned by our office and were unable to confirm it. Our admin staff never interfere with medical considerations.

Healing

Quitting through healing - Ehud Abramson

Cost: NIS 900. Explanation from therapist, Ehud Abramson (Tel: 04-6619086): "The treatment consists of an energy cleansing of the body's aura. Before the treatment, the patient receives a full explanation of the method and is fully conscious throughout the treatment (about 1 1/4 hours), which includes an energy cleansing and therapy with precious gems. About 20 percent of patients return for a second treatment to help them quit. Most of these have a spouse who smokes." The declared success rate is 80 percent.

Patients are required to drink a lot of water and to avoid being around smokers. They are also asked to contact the therapist when they feel the urge to smoke, in order to receive reinforcement.

Number of testers: 5

Number of quitters after a month: 5

Number of quitters after a year: 4

All five testers quit smoking. One of them started smoking again after a few months. "I think the secret is in the sophisticated marketing strategy," says one of the testers. "The patient is given the feeling that despite his passivity, the method works."

All the testers said at the beginning of the test that they would not have chosen this type of therapy of their own accord, because of the high price. Even so, afterward they claimed that the fact that they paid only a token fee did not hinder their motivation to stop smoking.

Ehud Abramson responds: "The results attest to the efficacy of my method. It is a pity that the only tester who went back to smoking after a few months did not come to me first for a reinforcement treatment."

Spray

Anti-Smoke spray - The Natural Way

Cost: NIS 400 for a two-month supply of three bottles. Explanation from The Natural Way service hotline (Tel: 1-700-505-090): "Spray the solution directly into your mouth every time you feel the urge to smoke (at least five times a day). The solution is made of natural ingredients and creates an aftertaste in the mouth that delays the need to smoke. Smokers gradually reduce the number of cigarettes they smoke per day. The spray also has a calming effect and reduces edginess. People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day or more will require two months treatment."

Number of testers: 4

Number of quitters after a month: 0

Number of quitters after a year: 0

None of the testers succeeded in quitting smoking. Nevertheless, three of the testers reported a reduction in the number of cigarettes they smoked while using the spray.

All the testers reported a measure of faith in the efficacy of the method and a high desire to quit.

None of them used the spray for two full months. Even so, two of them said the preparation was good for them, but reported that they did not have enough willpower.

The two other testers reported in retrospect that the method was ineffective and they would try to quit smoking via other methods.

All the testers reported withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and edginess, which the spray did not alleviate.