Researchers from the Swiss Research Institute for Public Health and Addiction at the University of Zurich in Switzerland investigated the efficacy of a single-session of group hypnotherapy for smoking cessation, as compared to relaxation in a sample of 223 Swiss adult smokers.

This was a cluster-randomized, parallel-group, controlled trial. A single session of hypnosis or relaxation for smoking cessation was delivered to groups of smokers (median size = 11).
 
Participants were 223 smokers consuming at least 5 cigarettes per day, who were willing to quit and not using cessation aids (47.1% females, M = 37.5 years [SD = 11.8], 86.1% Swiss).
 
Nicotine withdrawal, smoking abstinence self-efficacy, and adverse reactions were assessed at a 2-week follow-up.

The main outcome, self-reported 30-day point prevalence of smoking abstinence, was assessed at a 6-month follow up.
 
Abstinence was validated through salivary analysis. Secondary outcomes included number of cigarettes smoked per day, smoking abstinence self-efficacy, and nicotine withdrawal.

At the 6-month follow up, 14.7% in the hypnosis group and 17.8% in the relaxation group were abstinent. The intervention had no effect on smoking status (p = .73) or on the number of cigarettes smoked per day (p = .56). Smoking abstinence self-efficacy did not differ between the interventions (p = .14) at the 2-week follow-up, but non-smokers in the hypnosis group experienced reduced withdrawal (p = .02). Both interventions produced few adverse reactions (p = .81).

The investigators concluded that a single session of group hypnotherapy does not appear to be more effective for smoking cessation than a group relaxation session.

Citation: Dickson-Spillmann M, Haug S, Schaub MP. Group hypnosis vs. relaxation  for smoking cessation in adults: a cluster-randomised controlled trial. BMC Public Health. 2013 Dec 23; 13: page 1227. [email protected].