Introduction: To better understand the documented link between mindfulness and longevity, we examine the association between mindfulness and conscious avoidance of secondhand smoke (SHS), as well as the association between mindfulness and physical activity.
Method: In Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE) we surveyed a convenience sample of 1516 college freshmen. We measured mindfulness, weekly physical activity, and conscious avoidance of secondhand smoke, along with demographic and behavioral covariates. We used a multilevel logistic regression to test the association between mindfulness and conscious avoidance of secondhand smoke, and used a Tobit regression model to test the association between mindfulness and metabolic equivalent hours per week. In both models the home province of the student respondent was used as the cluster variable, and demographic and behavioral covariates, such as age, gender, smoking history, household registration status (urban vs. rural), the perceived smog frequency in their home towns, and the asthma diagnosis.
Results: The logistic regression of consciously avoiding SHS shows that a higher level of mindfulness was associated with an increase in the odds ratio of conscious SHS avoidance (logged odds: 0.22, standard error: 0.07, p < 0.01). The Tobit regression shows that a higher level of mindfulness was associated with more metabolic equivalent hours per week (Tobit coefficient: 4.09, standard error: 1.13, p < 0.001).
Discussion: This study is an innovative attempt to study the behavioral issue of secondhand smoke from the perspective of the potential victim, rather than the active smoker. The observed associational patterns here are consistent with previous findings that mindfulness is associated with healthier behaviors in obesity prevention and substance use. Research designs with interventions are needed to test the causal link between mindfulness and these healthy behaviors.
Keywords: China; mindfulness; passive smoking; physical activity; secondhand smoke; tobacco.