The efficacy of moderate intensity exercise as an aid for smoking cessation in women: A randomized controlled trial

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Evidence suggests that vigorous-intensity exercise interventions may be effective for smoking cessation among women; however, few studies have examined the efficacy of a moderate-intensity exercise program. The present study examined the efficacy of moderate-intensity exercise for smoking cessation among female smokers. Healthy, sedentary female smokers (N5217) were randomly assigned to an 8-week cognitive–behavioral smoking cessation program plus moderate-intensity exercise (CBT+EX) or to the same cessation program plus equal contact (CBT). A subsample received nicotine replacement therapy. Results indicated that the CBT+EX and CBT groups were equally likely to attain smoking cessation at the end of treatment, as measured by cotinine-verified 7-day pointprevalence abstinence (20.2% for CBT+EX vs. 18.5% for CBT). The CBT+EX group was more likely to report smoking cessation, as measured by 7-day point prevalence at the 3-month follow-up (11.9% vs. 4.6%, p,.05), compared with the CBT group. No group differences were found at 12 months by either 7-day point prevalence (7.3% for CBT+EX vs. 8.3% for CBT) or continuous abstinence (0.9% for CBT+EX vs. 0.9% for CBT). Additionally, among participants in the CBT+EX group, those with higher adherence to the exercise prescription were significantly more likely to achieve smoking cessation at the end of treatment than were participants reporting lower adherence to exercise. Our findings indicate that the empirical support for moderate-intensity exercise as an adjunctive treatment to CBT for smoking cessation may be limited. Perhaps future studies could compare moderate- vs. vigorous-intensity physical activity to test their relative efficacy.

Original Citation

Marcus B.H., Lewis B.A., Hogan J., King T.K., Albrecht A.E., Bock B., Parisi A.F., Niaura R., Abrams D.B. (2005). The efficacy of moderate intensity exercise as an aid for smoking cessation in women: A randomized controlled trial. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 7(6), 871-880. https://doi.org/10.1080/14622200500266056