Exercise effects on withdrawal and mood among women attempting smoking cessation

Addict Behav. 1999 May-Jun;24(3):399-410. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4603(98)00088-4.


This study investigated both acute and longer term ("chronic") effects of vigorous exercise training on affect, nicotine withdrawal, and cigarette craving among women enrolled in a smoking cessation research study. All subjects participated in a 12-week cognitive behavioral smoking cessation program and were randomly assigned to attend three sessions per week of either a vigorous exercise program or contact control. Measures of positive and negative affect, cigarette craving, and nicotine withdrawal were administered immediately before, and again immediately after the final exercise or contact session each week of the program. Study I enrolled 24 women who had been assigned to the exercise condition. Significant reductions in negative affect, nicotine withdrawal and cigarette craving were observed following exercise most weeks of the program. No significant changes in positive affect were observed. In Study II this protocol was repeated among 62 women (44 exercise, 18 contact control) in two consecutive cohorts of the larger study. Significant reduction were observed in negative affect, nicotine withdrawal and cigarette craving during most weeks of the program among exercise subjects but not contact condition subjects. No chronic (baseline to posttreatment) changes in positive or negative affect, cigarette craving or withdrawal symptoms were observed in either study. Vigorous exercise appears to produce acute improvements in withdrawal symptoms, cigarette craving, and negative affect among sedentary women attempting to quit smoking.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Behavior, Addictive / psychology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nicotiana*
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Random Allocation
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires