Associations of mindfulness with nicotine dependence, withdrawal, and agency

Subst Abus. 2009 Oct-Dec;30(4):318-27. doi: 10.1080/08897070903252973.


Quitting smoking is a major life stressor that results in numerous aversive consequences, including persistently increased level of post-cessation negative affect and relapse. The identification of factors that may enhance behavioral and emotional regulation after quitting may be useful in enhancing quit rates and preventing relapse. One factor broadly linked with behavioral and emotional regulation is mindfulness. This study examined baseline associations of mindfulness with demographic variables, smoking history, dependence, withdrawal severity, and agency among 158 smokers enrolled in a cessation trial. Results indicated that mindfulness was negatively associated with level of nicotine dependence and withdrawal severity, and positively associated with a sense of agency regarding cessation. Moreover, mindfulness remained significantly associated with these measures even after controlling for key demographic variables. Results suggest that low level of mindfulness may be an important predictor of vulnerability to relapse among adult smokers preparing to quit; thus, mindfulness-based interventions may enhance cessation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / methods*
  • Meditation / psychology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / psychology*
  • Tobacco Use Disorder / psychology*