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06.12.2021 | main topic Open Access

The effect of biofeedback on smoking cessation—a systematic short review

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift
Mohammad Keilani, Margarete Steiner, Richard Crevenna
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The aim of this systematic review was to focus on the effect of biofeedback on smoking cessation.

Material and methods

This review was conducted following the PRISMA guidelines. Peer-reviewed original articles including biofeedback and/or neurofeedback training as an intervention for smoking cessation were included. The PubMed, MEDLINE, Web of Science, Scopus, and Cochrane Library databases were screened for trials published up to July 2021. The effects on smoking rates and smoking behavior, and biofeedback/neurofeedback training measures are summarized here.


In total, three articles fulfilled the inclusion criteria. The total Downs and Black checklist scores ranged from 11 to 23 points, showing that the articles were of poor to good methodological quality. The included studies were heterogeneous, both in terms of treatment protocols and in terms of outcome parameters. Pooling of data for a meta-analysis was not possible. Therefore, we were limited to describing the included studies. The included biofeedback study demonstrated that skin temperature training might improve the patients’ ability to raise their skin temperature aiming at stress alleviation. All three studies reported positive effects of biofeedback/neurofeedback in supporting smokers to quit. Furthermore, individualized electroencephalography neurofeedback training showed promising results in one study in modulating craving-related responses.


The results of the present review suggest that biofeedback/neurofeedback training might facilitate smoking cessation by changing behavioral outcomes. Although the investigated studies contained heterogeneous methodologies, they showed interesting approaches that could be further investigated and elaborated. To improve the scientific evidence, prospective randomized controlled trials are needed to investigate biofeedback/neurofeedback in clinical settings for smoking cessation.

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