Yoga reduces cigarette cravings, according to a study from the USF Moffitt Cancer Center published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, promoting smoking cessation.

Yoga Reduces Cigarette Cravings

Yoga for smoking cessation helps reduce cigarette cravings

Quitting smoking is best thing a cigarette smoker can do to improve their health. Notably, nearly 70% of cigarette smokers in the United States say they want to quit this unhealthy habit, but considering nicotine “may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine or alcohol,” conquering cigarette cravings is frequently a difficult task. Thus, knowing that yoga promotes smoking cessation because it can reduce cigarette cravings might help.

The good news is that researchers from the University of South Florida found that leading a healthier lifestyle by adding yoga and exercise to your weekly routine naturally curbs the urge to smoke after just one day.

Definition of a Cigarette Smoker

To determine whether doing yoga for smoking cessation is worth your time, the researchers examined whether exercising using yoga or jogging would reduce cigarette cravings. For this purpose, they defined a smoker as “a person who has smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day for at least one year and is not trying to quit.” Next, they split a diverse group of 76 male and female smokers aged between 20 and 45 years (79% white, 14% African-American, 11% Latino, and 3% Asian) into three groups:

  1. a Hatha yoga group
  2. an aerobics group
  3. a control group
Yoga reduces cigarette cravings for you.

Jogging and yoga for smoking cessation

How To Reduce Cigarette Cravings Step-by-Step

If you want to reduce your cigarette cravings just like the participants in the study, and increase your chances of smoking cessation, be a copycat and do the following:

  1. Don’t smoke for 60 minutes before your yoga or jogging session
  2. Warm-up for 5 minutes
  3. Perform yoga (the study’s participants followed a video) or jog (the study’s the participants exercised on a treadmill) for 50 minutes, at a pace that induces a heart rate within 65% to 75% of the maximum recommended for your heart range
  4. Finish your yoga or jogging session with a 5-minute cooldown
Reduce cigarette cravings with yoga.

Reduce cigarette cravings with yoga

Reduced Cravings is a Benefit of Yoga for Smoking Cessation

The results of the Moffitt Cancer Center study are as follows (spoiler alert, yoga and jogging positively affected mood, too) and show how yoga for smoking cessation can work for you:

  • Completing one, 50-minute yoga class or jogging session significantly reduces cigarette cravings for the first 20 minutes after exercising
  • Smokers in the yoga group reported a general decrease in cigarette cravings
  • Joggers showed a reduction in cravings in response to smoking cues
  • Yoga and jogging produced a substantial elevation in good mood
  • Yoga and jogging decreased negative mood

Alternative Ways To Increase Your Chances of Quitting Smoking

Yoga for smoking cessation reduces cigarette cravings and jogging does too, but those aren’t the only natural ways to increase your chances of quitting smoking. For example, several psychosocial methods can significantly increase your chances of quitting with or without smoking cessation medications, according to a review by Dr. John R. Hughes from the Psychiatry Department of the University of Vermont:

  • Behavioral therapy increases your chance of quitting smoking from 1.5 to 2.1 times
  • Support from a quitting buddy increases your chance of quitting smoking approximately 1.5 times.

Yoga Reduces Cigarette Cravings, Jogging Does Too!

1. Elibero, Andrea; et al. “Acute Effects of Aerobic Exercise and Hatha Yoga on Craving to Smoke.” Nicotine and Tobacco Research August (2011): Online.

2. Hughes, J. R. (2012). Motivating and Helping Smokers to Stop Smoking. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 12, 1053–1057.

3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control – Fact Sheet – Smoking Cessation – Smoking & Tobacco Use. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

-Lady w/cigarette photo by LaFleur