Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

David Drobes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Brandon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jonathan Rottenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kristen Salomon, Ph.D.


Tobacco, Cigarettes, Urge, Exercise, Reactivity


Becoming more physically active is associated with increased confidence to maintain smoking abstinence as well as success at stopping smoking. The purpose of the current study was to assess the effects of two different types of exercise (cardiovascular and Hatha yoga) on general and cue-elicited craving for a cigarette. Participants were 76 smokers ages 18-45 (mean=29) who smoked at least 10 cigarettes per day (mean=20) for at least one year. Participants were randomly assigned to engage in 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity (walking on a treadmill), yoga, or to view a video about exercise (control). Participants completed a self-report measure of craving (Questionnaire of Smoking Urges-Brief [QSU-brief]; Cox, Tiffany, & Christen, 2001) and a brief mood form, as well as a picture-based cue reactivity assessment before and approximately five minutes after the activity. Results demonstrated that participants in both exercise groups reported a significant decrease in anticipation of pleasure from smoking following exercise as compared to the control group, as measured by Factor 1 of the QSU-brief (p < .05) up to 20 minutes following exercise. Participants in both exercise groups also reported significant decrease in smoking to relieve negative affect or withdrawal only 20 minutes after exercising, as measured by Factor 2 of the QSU-brief (p < .05). There was also a trend toward a significant group x time interaction effect for the QSU-brief Global scale (p = .053) immediately following exercise and a significant decrease in craving 20 minutes after exercise (p = .040). These effects were fully mediated by both an increase in positive mood and a decrease in negative mood following exercise (ps < .05) and a decrease in negative mood 20 minutes after exercise. Following activity, the cardiovascular group had a significant decrease in craving towards smoking pictures and an increase in craving towards neutral pictures, the yoga group demonstrated a significant decrease towards both smoking and neutral cues, and the control group had an increase in craving over time for both types of cues (ps < .05). Overall, these findings suggest that both cardiovascular activity and yoga may reduce urges to smoke following exercise, but that cardio exercise may be specifically associated with reduced cue-elicited craving. Future studies should examine the relationship between acute and long-term effects of exercise on cravings and smoking behavior. This can inform the potential application of exercise regimens within smoking cessation programs.