Meditation Could Help Reduce Smoking – Study

A new, small-scale study suggests a few hours of meditation can reduce cravings and increase activity in the brain regions associated with self control. 

Photo: Fried Dough/

A group of 60 college students were recruited for the study, including 27 smokers. Researchers divided students into two groups: those who would participate in two weeks of meditation, and those who would undergo two weeks of relaxation training.

While smokers in the relaxation training group showed little change in their habit, smokers in the meditation group smoked 60 per cent less at the end of two weeks.

To learn more about the study, published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, click here.

While the participant base for this study was small, the study’s results echo some of the research conducted by Dr. Judson Brewer at Yale University. Brewer recently created an online program designed to help people quit smoking through meditation. Craving to Quit incorporates Brewer’s research on mindfulness training so smokers can learn how to notice the sensation of smoking and let thoughts and cravings pass.

To learn more about Craving to Quit, you might want to read Mindful‘s Q&A with Judson Brewer about the research behind the smoking-cessation program and accompanying app, from the August issue of Mindful magazine.