Can Meditation Help Quit Smoking?


A new study found that a type of meditation technique may help smokers quit, at least for a  short-term. The conclusion was made on the results of only 5 smokers. Scientists discovered that relaxation techniques not affected the frequency of smoking, which may mean that type of meditations plays an important role here.

Should smokers practise meditation if they want to smoke less? Michael Posner, professor emeritus at the University of Oregon’s department of psychology answers that yes.

However, not all types of meditation will produce these effects. People are different and what works for one person may not work for other.

Scientists connected mindfulness meditation to a number of health benefits. Several years ago it was connected with relief from influenza, cold and hot flashes. Also it was linked to changes in the brain. Mindfulness meditation helps to relax, concentrate on the present moment and go with the flow of sensations and thoughts.

For the new study there were selected 60 individuals –  33 nonsmokers and 27 cigarette smokers, aged on average 21. They were divided into two gropus. Each group five hours a day during 2 weeks practised either relaxation and mindfulness meditation.

After two weeks, the scientists tested smokers to see how much they had been smoking. There was no change in people who practiced relaxation, but the measurement fell by 60% in people who practised meditation.

5 smokers who learned to meditate said researchers in four weeks after the study that they were still smoking less. However, scientists cannot say exactly how long the reduction will last because the number of positive results was small.

If meditation really has a positive effect over smokers, what might be going on? Other study suggests that meditation improves connections in the brain. It showed that the brains of the smokers who practised meditation were more active in an zone connected to self-control. Researchers say that reduction in stress may be an important reason meditation seems to provide medical relief.

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