Study protocol of a pragmatic, randomised controlled pilot trial: clinical effectiveness on smoking cessation of traditional and complementary medicine interventions, including acupuncture and aromatherapy, in combination with nicotine replacement therapy

BMJ Open. 2017 Jun 2;7(5):e014574. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014574.


Introduction: Nicotine dependence is a disease, and tobacco use is related to 6 million deaths annually worldwide. Recently, in many countries, there has been growing interest in the use of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) methods, especially acupuncture, as therapeutic interventions for smoking cessation. The aim of this pilot study is to investigate the effectiveness of T&CM interventions on smoking cessation.

Methods and analysis: The STOP (Stop Tobacco Programme using traditional Korean medicine) study is designed to be a pragmatic, open-label, randomised pilot trial. This trial will evaluate whether adding T&CM methods (ie, ear and body acupuncture, aromatherapy) to conventional cessation methods (ie, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), counselling) increases smoking cessation rates. Forty participants over 19 years old who are capable of communicating in Korean will be recruited. They will be current smokers who meet one of the following criteria: (1) smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, (2) smoke less than 10 cigarettes a day and previously failed to cease smoking, or (3) smoke fewer than 10 cigarettes a day and have a nicotine dependence score (Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence) of 4 points or more. The trial will consist of 4 weeks of treatment and a 20 week follow-up period. A statistician will perform the statistical analyses for both the intention-to-treat (all randomly assigned participants) and per-protocol (participants who completed the trial without any protocol deviations) data using SAS 9.1.3.

Ethics and dissemination: This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Dunsan Korean Medicine Hospital of Daejeon University (IRB reference no: DJDSKH-15-BM-11-1, Protocol No. version 4.1.).The protocol will be reapproved by IRB if it requires amendment. The trial will be conducted according to the Declaration of Helsinki, 7th version (2013). This study is designed to minimise the risk to participants, and the investigators will explain the study to the participants in detail. As an ethical clinical trial, the control group will also be given conventional cessation treatments, including NRT and counselling. Participants will be screened and provided with a registration number to protect their personal information. Informed consent will be obtained from the participants prior to enrolling them in the trial. Participants will be allowed to withdraw at anytime without penalty.

Trial registration number: (NCT02768025); pre-results.

Keywords: Korean medicine; Smoking; T&CM; acupuncture; study protocol; tobacco control.

Publication types

  • Pragmatic Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy / methods
  • Adult
  • Aromatherapy / methods
  • Counseling / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Republic of Korea
  • Research Design
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices / statistics & numerical data
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult

Associated data