Dispositional Mindful Attention in Relation to Negative Affect, Tobacco Withdrawal, and Expired Carbon Monoxide On and After Quit Day

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Mindfulness (or “Mindful Attention”) has been described as the presence or absence of attention to, and awareness of, what is occurring in the present moment. Among smokers, greater mindfulness is associated with greater effect stability and reduced cue-induced craving. While studies have shown that mindfulness is associated with other smoking-related factors such as reduced withdrawal symptoms using cross-sectional data, relatively little is known about the associations between baseline mindful attention and future abstinence-related effect/withdrawal. The current study sought to examine whether levels of mindful attention before cessation predicts negative affect, withdrawal, and level of expired carbon monoxide (CO) on quit day, and also 3 and 7 days after quitting, during a self-quit attempt.


Data from 58 adults (mean age = 34.9; 65.5% male) participating in a self-quit study were available for analysis. Self-report measures of mindful attention, negative affect, and withdrawal symptoms were collected. Biochemical measurement of expired CO was also collected. Dependent variables were assessed on quit day, and also 3 and 7 days after quitting. Covariates included age, race, sex, self-reported level of cigarette dependence, and smoking status through 7 days. Multivariate regression was used to evaluate the association of baseline mindful attention in relation to the studied outcomes.


Greater mindful attention predicted lower negative affect and reduced withdrawal at all 3 time-points. Mindful attention did not predict levels of expired CO.


The findings suggest that mindful attention before or during smoking-cessation treatment may help to reduce negative affect and withdrawal, which serve as barriers to cessation for many smokers.

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