The effects of aromatherapy on nicotine craving on a U.S. campus: a small comparison study

J Altern Complement Med. 2013 Aug;19(8):709-13. doi: 10.1089/acm.2012.0537. Epub 2013 Mar 28.


Objectives: To evaluate the effect of two inhaled essential oils (black pepper or angelica) on the nicotine habits of students, staff, and faculty on a U.S. college campus.

Design: Comparative study with pre-/post-test measures.

Setting: Community college in rural East Texas.

Participants: Convenience sample of 20 volunteers from the college community (students, faculty, and staff) who were regular (daily) users of nicotine (cigarettes, snuff, or chewing tobacco).

Interventions: Inhalation of one drop of essential oil on a tissue for 2 minutes when participant was craving nicotine.

Outcome measures: (1) Pre-inhalation journal recording of self-assessed level of craving for nicotine on a 0-10 scale, (2) post-inhalation journal recording of self-assessed level of craving for nicotine on a 0-10 scale, and (3) minutes that participant waited from start of inhalation until next use of tobacco.

Results: Both black pepper and angelica reduced the level of nicotine craving and allowed a longer delay before next use of tobacco. However, black pepper reduced the level of craving more than did angelica, and angelica allowed for a longer delay than did black pepper.

Conclusions: Aromatherapy may be useful in nicotine withdrawal. Further studies are warranted.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Angelica
  • Aromatherapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Piper nigrum
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / therapy*
  • Texas
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / therapy*


  • Oils, Volatile