The findings, reported in the American Journal of Medicine, come from a review of 14 previous clinical trials.

Six of those studies tested acupuncture against a "sham" version of the procedure (in which, for example, needles were placed in non-acupuncture points on the skin).Overall, smokers who got real acupuncture were more than three times as likely to be tobacco-free six months to a year later.

Most medical professionals do not believe that acupuncture is a successful smoking cessation method but many people have been able to quit smoking using acupuncture after just 1 or 2 sessions. Ex-smokers who have quit using acupuncture say that they notice a reduction in nicotine withdrawal symptoms very early in the treatment.There are still "definitely questions," about how many sessions of acupuncture or hypnosis might be necessary, or which specific techniques (needle or laser acupuncture, for example) are best.

The Cochrane Collaboration does not think that acupuncture is effective in helping people stop smoking. In fact, from the few studies made, it seems that it does not have much effect at all and that people react the same whether they receive acupuncture treatment or not. While some short-term benefits were seen,these were not sufficient to prove the success of acupuncture treatments.

Even with acupuncture therapies, kicking the smoking habit is often an uphill battle.