Addiction Disorders and Therapy

A Pilot Feasibility and Acceptability Study of a Tai Chi Exercise Intervention on Smoking Cessation

Published on: 2014-08-14


Background: Tobacco use is still the number one cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States and contributes to approximately $156 billion in annual lost productivity. Approximately 480,000 deaths are attributable to smoking and tobacco use each year. In 2011, a poll conducted by the CDC concluded that 69% of adult smokers wanted to quit smoking.
Objective: This study assessed the effect of a Tai Chi exercise intervention to treat smoking addiction. Secondary outcome measures included quality of life, self-reported stress, and physical characteristics.
Methods: Eighteen participants who regularly smoked cigarettes were enrolled in a 12-week group intervention. Participants attended 3 Tai Chi sessions per week for 3 months. They were assessed on their current tobacco use and other outcomes at three time points (baseline, post-intervention, and 3-month follow-up).
Results: At post-intervention, 11 out of 12 participants had reduced their level of smoking and 7 (58%) were no longer smoking. At the 3-month follow-up, three of the four (75%) active participants reported no longer smoking. Pairwise comparisons revealed that the smoking rate at baseline was significantly higher than at post-intervention (p<0.001) and at 3-month follow-up (p<0.05). According to quality of life, role-physical (p<0.01), general health, vitality, social functioning, role-emotional, and bodily pain (all p values<0.05) improved at post-intervention, 3-month follow-up, or both. Systolic blood pressure decreased at the 3-month follow-up assessment (p<0.05).
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that Tai Chi is effective for helping participants either stop smoking or reduce their habit and also improves systolic blood pressure and self assessment of multiple quality of life domains. Thus, Tai Chi may offer an alternative method for smoking cessation, while simultaneously improving other indicators of overall health status.


Cigarette Use; Smoking Cessation; Tai Chi; Quality of Life