Evaluation of cranial electrostimulation therapy on short-term smoking cessation

Biol Psychiatry. 1997 Jul 15;42(2):116-21. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3223(96)00294-6.


The effects of cranial electrical stimulation (CES) on short-term smoking cessation were evaluated in a double-blind study of cigarette smokers who wished to stop smoking. Subjects were randomly assigned to a CES- (n = 51) or a sham-treated group (n = 50). On 5 consecutive days subjects received CES treatments (30-microA, 2-msec, 10-Hz pulsed signal) or no electrical current (sham). There were no significant differences between groups on daily cigarettes smoked, exhaled carbon monoxide, urinary cotinine levels, treatment retention, smoking urges, or total tobacco withdrawal scores, although subjects in the CES group had less cigarette craving and anxiety during the first 2 experimental days. The ineffectiveness of CES to reduce withdrawal symptoms and facilitate smoking cessation are similar to results of other clinical studies of CES in drug dependence, although positive effects of CES in animal studies have been reported.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Carbon Monoxide / pharmacokinetics
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Nicotine / adverse effects
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Nicotine
  • Carbon Monoxide