Observational Study on a Mindfulness Training for Smokers within a Smoking Cessation Program
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Mindfulness is a skill of intentionally directing one’s attention to emotions, thoughts, or physical sensations with an open-minded, non-judgmental attitude. Mindfulness can enable a person to experience challenging feelings or situations without reacting impulsively or automatically. Mindfulness training may be provided to smokers to help them manage smoking triggers, urges, stress, or negative emotions without smoking. Randomized controlled trials have now shown that mindfulness training for smokers (MTS) yields smoking abstinence rates that are equal to or higher than matched behavioral treatments. We describe a comparative observational study on MTS within an ongoing clinical program. The study was conducted with a naturalistic design and utilized no procedures or evaluations beyond those already employed in clinical practice. All participants were advised to use FDA-approved smoking cessation medications and were provided with a choice of two behavioral treatments—MTS (selfpay) or the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line (WTQL) (free). Over a 12-month study period, 181 clinic patients enrolled; 65.75% (119) choose MTS and 34.25% (62) choose WTQL. MTS compared to WTQL treatment initiators showed significantly higher biochemically confirmed 7-day point prevalence smoking abstinence at 2 weeks post-quit attempt (MTS = 47.00%, QL = 24.52%, p = .011, OR = 2.71). Intent-to-treat analysis showed similar outcomes (p = .019, OR = 2.45). The study provides evidence that MTS provided within clinical program leads to similar outcomes as found in randomized controlled trials. The strategic use of MTS within a smoking cessation program is discussed.
KeywordsMindfulness Smoking Smoker Tobacco Abstinence Mindfulness training
JD: Secured grant funding for the study, designed and executed the study, oversaw data collection and analysis, and primary manuscript writer.
SG: Conducted statistical analyses and helped write the manuscript.
KA: Conducted day-to-day operations of the study, collected data, and helped prepare methods section of manuscript.
RS: Collaborated in manuscript preparation, tables, figures, copy editing, and reference checks.
DL: Conducted data cleaning, secondary statistical analysis, and manuscript preparation and editing.
EK: Collaborated in manuscript preparation for background section, constructed tables, figures, and copy editing.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The study was funded through Meriter Foundation Research and Education Grant no. 477.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the Meriter Hospital Institutional Review Board (IRB) with University of Wisconsin IRB reciprocity.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of Interest
Dr. James Davis has received research funding from Pfizer. Dr. James Davis declares that he has no conflict of interest. Mr. Simon Goldberg declares that he has no conflict of interest. Ms. Kelly Bodoh declares that she has no conflict of interest. Ms. Rachel Silver declares that she has no conflict of interest. Ms. Emily Kragel declares that she has no conflict of interest. Mr. Delaney Lagrew declares that he has no conflict of interest.
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