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Laser acupuncture a sham?

Alex Cohen Jun 26, 2006

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: You’ve heard about nicotine gum, the patch, and of course, going cold turkey. But what about laser acupuncture as a way to quit smoking? Is it just smoke and mirrors? Alex Cohen has more.

ALEX COHEN: The procedure uses low level lasers in place of needles on pressure points in the body. Some laser acupuncture companies claim the method helps ease nicotine withdrawal and charge nearly $400 for a 30-minute session.

But, Washington watchdog group Public Citizen says there’s no proof to back up the claim. The group’s health research director Dr. Sydney Wolfe says there are plenty of other ways to quit smoking which have been scientifically proven to work.

SYDNEY WOLFE: “It seems not just a cruel hoax but a dangerous fraud to be urging people to spend money on something that doesn’t work.”

Public Citizen is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to stop five companies from advertising laser acupuncture as a way to kick the habit.

I’m Alex Cohen for Marketplace.

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