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Summaries of recent papers
  1. Adrian White1,
  2. Sharon Burton2,
  3. Amer Sheikh3,
  4. Mark Langweiler4
  1. 1Primary Care Group, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, Plymouth, Devon, UK
  2. 2Wilson St Surgery, Derby, UK
  3. 3Ashford Health Centre, Ashford Hospital, Ashford, Middlesex, UK
  4. 4Welsh Institute of Chiropractic, University of South Wales, Treforest, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Adrian White, Primary Care Group, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, N21 ITTC Building, Tamar Science Park, Plymouth PL6 8BX, UK

Statistics from

Clinical effectiveness research

Smoking cessation

▸ Yeh ML, Wang PL, Lin JG, et al. The effects and measures of auricular acupressure and interactive multimedia for smoking cessation in college students. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2014;2014:898431.

Controlled trial—preference design (n=96).


University students were allocated to three groups, according to preference, for the 10-week study period. There were 32 in each group. Group 1 had acupressure to Shenmen, Lung, Stomach, Mouth, Subcortex and Hunger using seeds on an adhesive dressing, replaced weekly. The report does not state if both ears were used. Participants were instructed to press each auricular point for at least 1 min, 3–5 times a day. Group 2 had an ‘interactive multimedia’ CD presenting educational images, text and animation about the dangers of smoking and the strategies for stopping. They followed the programme for 20 min weekly. No information is provided about group 3, the untreated controls.

Outcome measures were serum cotinine, nicotine dependence questionnaire and exhaled carbon dioxide (CO2); but not smoking cessation itself.


A clear improvement was seen in the mean results for cotinine and nicotine dependence in the acupressure group (figure 1; CO2 figures were similar), which was significant in comparison with control in the analysis of the raw data. However, when baseline characteristics (father smoking, peer smoking, refusal smoking self-efficacy and smoking years) were taken into account, there was no significant difference between groups.

Figure 1

Acupressure for smoking cessation. Based on eCAM 2014;2014:898431. IM, interactive multimedia group.


The sample size estimate was based on an effect size of 0.3 of the forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1) and was clearly too small to be definitive on the smoking outcomes. Although the study was not randomised, it did reflect reality—in that most people who have acupuncture have positively chosen it. The result is promising, but the design is not …

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