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Cold Laser for Smoking
Today's the Great American Smoke Out. One of the latest ways to help kick the habit is a laser. Fox's 13's Dr. Joette Giovinco to show us now to explain.

A variety of different companies market cold lasers to help people quit smoking. The laser is light energy that can penetrate through the skin but it's painless. Some people believe applying it to certain pressure points, like acupuncture, makes it easier to stop smoking.

William Friedman is a pack-a-day smoker, "I've tried the gum before. I've tried hypnotherapy before and quit from."

This time, he wanted to kick the habit, for good. So he tried a therapy called Freedom Laser. Craig Nabat founded the company, "It's a low level laser which is completely painless, and we use the laser to stimulate energy points in the hands, face and ears. It's based on the principles of acupuncture."

Nabat says the laser helps cut the cravings and nicotine withdrawal symptoms--like headache, nausea and irritability-- by stimulating the body's natural pain killers, "It creates an endorphin release in the body, almost mimicking the endorphin rush the client would get from nicotine."

The procedure is not yet FDA approved. Clients watch a movie s a technician applies the laser. At Freedom Laser, patients are given a 7-day supply of vitamins. Still, Nabat says it's not for everyone, "We don't treat pregnant women b/c we don't know the effects it could possibly have on an unborn child."

But some experts don't believe the treatment really works. Dr. Jonathan Foulds of the Tobacco dependence program says, "I wouldn't recommend it because there's not enough adequate evidence to show that it works."

Addiction experts say if you wanna quit -- stick to what's scientifically proven.

Foulds explains, "Your best chance-- based on reviews of scientific evidence-- is to use an approved pharmacological therapy like nicotine replacement or Zyban and combine it with counseling from a trained clinician who can treat tobacco dependence."

Meanwhile, William says his cravings are now gone, "I'm gonna make sure that I try to stop smoking for good- I wanna stop, I think I've got the will power, I'm gonna do it."

The procedure is currently being tested in clinical trials. However, it is already available and costs about $400. The treatment is still considered experiment, so don't be surprised if your insurance company refuses to pay. Similar cold laser are also being used for wound healing, pain relief, arthritis, and neurological problems.


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