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Take a deep breath! Yoga can help you quit smoking, says new study

health-and-fitness Updated: Sep 18, 2013 03:35 IST
Sidhartha Dutta
Sidhartha Dutta
Hindustan Times
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For those who want to kick the butt yoga can come in handy, says a new study.

Breathing exercises as prescribed under the ancient yoga can help people quit smoking, the study found.

As many as 1,185 tobacco users across 32 urban slums in Delhi were researched under the study. The findings were presented at the International Conference on Endgame for Tobacco in New Delhi last week.

“In developed countries, governments fund tobacco-cessation programmes. But India needs a low-cost and easily scalable intervention,” said research scholar Dr Bidyut K Sarkar, who conducted the study with the support of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and the University College London (UCL).

“The intervention consisted of a single session of quitting advice and training in craving control using simple yogic breathing exercises and a control group consisting of just a brief advice,” he added.


After four weeks, a follow-up was conducted that showed almost a 50% difference between the two groups. In the intervention group, 77 of the 574 people followed up had quit tobacco use, while only 41 of the 586 people in the control group, who just got a brief advice, had managed to stay off tobacco.

“After six months, we will conduct a saliva cotinine test to validate if they have actually quit tobacco use. Then we will present the study to the government for their approval. The cheap method of intervention can be followed with the help of health workers,” Dr Sarkar said.

The prevalence of tobacco users, in Delhi as per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) in 2010, was 24.3% of the population above 15 years of age, which indicates over 28 lakh tobacco users.

Independent studies have shown that smoking accounts for approximately 20% of all male deaths and 5% of female deaths in India between the ages of 30-69 years.

Nearly two-third of men and women who smoke can expect to die between the ages of 30 and 69, compared with around 40% of non-smoking men and women who are similar in other ways.