I have experienced good results in my practice. I don't get a lot of smoking cessation treatment requests... but my results are about 50/50 quitting for some period of time.
I encourage you to get a treatment yourself while you all are there and get familiar with the effects so maybe we don't seem so "out there" after you have an experience with our ancient, fabulous medicine!
He's still going to have to exert self control, change up his habits, and stay away from other smokers for a while. But remember, a craving only lasts 3 minutes, so if he can distract himself for 3 minutes, it will pass.
Hope this helps.
How does acupuncture work? There are points that help the person stay calm, so they don't need the substance to keep them calm. It helps regulate the body's systems (digestive, circulatory, sympathetic/parasympathetic nervous system, respiratory, et al). It doesn't work by itself and it will not work if the patient is not willing to quit the lifestyle and become a non-smoker.
There is usually an herbal formula that assists the acupuncture treatment and there are counseling sessions the practitioner has with the patient and there is even a couple of points that can cause the patient to be repulsed by the scent of the cigarette.
It is best to work with someone who is familiar with working with this type of addiction, someone who has had experience and knows how to work with an addicted patient. So, when seeking a practitioner, be sure they know it's a process and will help guide your son. Before that, though, be sure that your son wants to make the change, because we cannot change his habits, only he can.
Acupuncture does work to quit smoking by reducing the desire. But acupuncture is not a miracle to totally forget the cigarette.
That being said, what acupuncture does is help manage cravings. Typically when treating addictions we use a set of 5 needles in the ear. These needles appear to be stimulating the GABA system in the brain. This system is responsible for chilling things out in the central nervous system which is why it can be effective for helping people quit addictive substances.
If this is a route you decide to try, in order to get the best possible result you will want to take him to either an NCCAOM board certified acupuncturist. To find someone local to you, check out the "Find a Practitioner" link at NCCAOM.org. Or you can find an Auricular Detox Specialist near you by contacting the folks at acudetox.com (email@example.com).