A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Mindfulness-Based Smoking Cessation Program for Individuals with Mild Intellectual Disability

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Smoking is a risk factor for death and dying for individuals who smoke and for those who inhale second hand smoke. Smokers struggle to quit smoking because of the negative affect associated with nicotine withdrawal. We assessed the efficacy of a mindfulness-based intervention for smoking cessation in individuals with mild intellectual disabilities. In addition to the basic concentration meditation, the mindfulness-based smoking cessation program included daily intention, mindful observation of thoughts, and Meditation on the Soles of the Feet. In a two-group randomized controlled trial, 51 protocol-eligible participants were randomly assigned to either the experimental group (mindfulness-based intervention) or the control group (treatment as usual). Results showed a statistically significant reduction in smoking commensurate with mindfulness-based training when compared to the treatment as usual condition. This finding was evident regardless of whether the analysis included only those who completed the study or the total sample in an intent-to-treat analysis. Furthermore, those receiving the mindfulness-based intervention were significantly more successful in abstaining from smoking during a 1-year follow-up than the treatment as usual group. These results suggest mindfulness-based interventions may be effective treatments for smoking cessation in individuals with mild intellectual disabilities.


smoking cessation, mindfulness-based intervention, intellectual disabilities, randomized controlled trial

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