Volume 12 Supplement 1

Scientific Abstracts Presented at the International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health 2012

Open Access

P05.29. Does yoga improve smoking cessation outcomes? A systematic review of the literature

  • L Carim Todd1,
  • S Mitchell1 and
  • B Oken1
BMC Complementary and Alternative MedicineThe official journal of the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR)201212(Suppl 1):P389


Published: 12 June 2012


To evaluate the effectiveness of a yoga intervention for smoking cessation.


A systematic search, review and synthesis of existing literature on yoga interventions for smoking cessation was conducted. Online literature searches through MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EBM, PubMed, clinicaltrials.gov and NIH RePORTER were carried out using an array of search terms and combinations. Manual search of reference lists and specific authors was also performed. Studies were selected that had: (1) smoking-related primary outcomes and, (2) an intervention consisting of yoga or a component of yoga (e.g. pranayama).


Four studies met our inclusion criteria. The variation between studies was substantial in terms of study population, study design, sample size, control condition, type of yoga intervention, implementation of the intervention, adherence rates, length of follow-up and number of outcomes. However, despite the variability and limited number of reports available, data suggests that the practice of yoga might influence the desire and motivation to quit smoking, reduce smoking urges, reduce temptations to smoke, increase pulmonary health awareness and reduce inflammatory response in stressful situations.


There is some suggestion that yoga could aid in smoking cessation. All four studies found changes in smoking behavior or attitude towards smoking after the intervention. However, the variety of study designs, the non-standardized nature of the interventions, lack of follow-up, and differences in study population and sample size, limit our capacity to draw definitive conclusions. Therefore, in order to accurately assess whether yoga can be an effective component of smoking cessation treatments, there is a strong need for randomized controlled clinical trials with larger sample sizes, clearly defined yoga interventions, longer follow ups, and efficient measures of compliance and adherence.

Authors’ Affiliations

Oregon Health & Science University


© Todd et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2012

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.