Réduire voire arrêter sa consommation de tabac: pour atteindre cet objectif, de nombreux fumeurs sont prêts à tout.

Medicine: laser for smoking cessation? Beware of smoking!


French doctors and authorities have warned of a new supposedly miraculous way to quit smoking, one that is not scientifically proven. This is expensive.

Reduce or even quit smoking: To achieve this goal, many smokers are ready for anything.

Image caption / Pixabay

With the laser, “stop smoking in one session”, “85% success rate”: these tempting promises – even if they mean paying an average of 150-250 euros per session – are circulating on the Internet in France. All this is all the more tempting because they skillfully manipulate a lexicon of medicine: “offices”, “therapists”, “treatment” … But beware, this technique is not scientifically proven, doctors and authorities warn.

“One year warranty and no weight gain”, promises you the site of a large network of “laser centers for tobacco control”. According to his triggers, the “soft laser” stimulates points on the auricle, a procedure that’s supposed to cut nicotine cravings. A technique derived from acupuncture. “I’m eliminating the physical need to smoke,” confirms Hakima Kuni, director of the Paris Laser Center. You have to be pretty excited and she’s “not a witch,” but she assures there’s no way that “works either.” An “obvious” method is scientifically proven, she says.

criticism method since 2007

“Smokers can have great difficulty when they have already tried to quit smoking several times and fall into the trap very easily,” explains Daniel Thomas, former head of the cardiology department at the Parisian Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, spokesman for the French. “The laser is not one of the approved and proven methods of weaning from tobacco,” we confirm on the official Tobacco-Info-Service website.

As early as 2007, the Canadian Cancer Society warned that this method benefited from very positive advertising campaigns, promising to quit smoking, alcohol and drugs. Fifteen years later, the science is still skeptical, but the laser has become popular in France thanks to “the many advertising screens in newspapers and magazines, (TV) or on the Internet,” three pulmonologists and tobacco specialists note in an article by the French doctor magazine “Le Courrier.” des Addiction”, which confirms the lack of serious conclusive studies.

The placebo effect

However, a smoker can completely walk out of a session of this type of technique away from their desire to smoke, the specialist points out, in particular because the placebo effect can have a significant effect. So much so that the French High Authority for Health asserts that if the benefit of non-approved methods has not been demonstrated, their use cannot be ruled out because of the “possible placebo effect”. Provided that it is “proved to be harmless”.

As all specialists emphasize, it is the will that remains the key in any case. Not to mention all the other variables: A smoker who wants to quit is more likely to engage in better lifestyle habits that help with success. It is therefore difficult to determine the factor(s) that enabled it to stop. If these methods “can not cause any harm in advance and are sometimes likely to support highly motivated smokers, the main criticism that can be made in these centers is to make them a panacea with high success rates of unreliable 85%,” summarizes Daniel Thomas.

(France Press agency)

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