This is the first study comparing mindfulness training to gold-standard treatment for smoking cessation. Four months after treatment mindfulness was found to be 5x better at helping people quit smoking.
Abstract (Brewer 2011)
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the world, and long-term abstinence rates remain modest. Mindfulness training (MT) has begun to show benefits in a number of psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety and more recently, in addictions. However, MT has not been evaluated for smoking cessation through randomized clinical trials.
88 treatment-seeking, nicotine-dependent adults who were smoking an average of 20 cigarettes/day were randomly assigned to receive MT or the American Lung Association’s freedom from smoking (FFS) treatment. Both treatments were delivered twice weekly over 4 weeks (eight sessions total) in a group format. The primary outcomes were expired-air carbon monoxide-confirmed 7-day point prevalence abstinence and number of cigarettes/day at the end of the 4-week treatment and at a follow-up interview at week 17.
88% of individuals received MT and 84% of individuals received FFS completed treatment. Compared to those randomized to the FFS intervention, individuals who received MT showed a greater rate of reduction in cigarette use during treatment and maintained these gains during follow-up (F = 11.11, p = .001). They also exhibited a trend toward greater point prevalence abstinence rate at the end of treatment (36% vs. 15%, p = .063), which was significant at the 17-week follow-up (31% vs. 6%, p = .012).
This initial trial of mindfulness training may confer benefits greater than those associated with current standard treatments for smoking cessation.
Brewer, J. A., S. Mallik, T. A. Babuscio, C. Nich, H. E. Johnson, C. M. Deleone, C. A. Minnix-Cotton, S. Byrne, H. Kober, A. Weinstein, K. M. Carroll, B. J. Rounsaville. (2011) Drug and Alcohol Dependence 119: 72-80.
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