, Volume 195, Issue 1, pp 125–129

Acute exercise effects on smoking withdrawal symptoms and desire to smoke are not related to expectation

Original Investigation

DOI: 10.1007/s00213-007-0889-6

Cite this article as:
Daniel, J.Z., Cropley, M. & Fife-Schaw, C. Psychopharmacology (2007) 195: 125. doi:10.1007/s00213-007-0889-6



Recent research has shown that 10 min of moderate intensity exercise reduce smoking withdrawal symptoms and desire to smoke in acutely abstinent smokers. The aim of the current study was to determine whether the reductions are related to participant expectation of these effects.

Materials and methods

Forty-five sedentary participants who had smoked ten or more cigarettes per day for at least 3 years reported their expectation of the effects of exercise on smoking withdrawal symptoms. Approximately 1 month later, participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups after 11–15 h of overnight smoking abstinence. Each group read either a positive, negative or neutral statement concerning exercise effects on smoking withdrawal symptoms. They rated their expectation again and then completed 10 min of moderate intensity exercise on a stationary bicycle ergometer. Using standardised scales, participants rated smoking withdrawal symptoms and desire to smoke at 10, 5 and 0 min before exercise, then at 5 and 10 min during exercise and 15 and 20 min post-exercise.


Expectation of exercise effects on withdrawal were manipulated in the predicted directions. No significant group main effects were found for any symptom. Significant reductions in symptoms and desire to smoke occurred during and after exercise regardless of participant expectation.


Ten minutes of moderate intensity exercise can lead to reductions in desire to smoke and smoking withdrawal symptoms, which are not due to the participant’s expectation of exercise effects. These findings support the use of short periods of exercise as an aid to smoking cessation.


Smoking cessationExerciseExpectationWithdrawal

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Z. Daniel
    • 1
  • Mark Cropley
    • 2
  • Chris Fife-Schaw
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Applied SciencesUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of SurreySurreyUK