Nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms are associated with higher rates of relapse. It has been shown that combining behavioral therapy and pharmacotherapy leads to a higher long-term abstinence rate in those who quit smoking. Al-Quran recitation has been proven to reduce anxiety among athletes before tournaments and pulse and heart rates among patients awaiting cardiac operations. As most of the patients who wish to stop smoking experience high-anxiety states, we postulate that Al-Quran recitation will also able to reduce craving among smokers attempting to quit smoking.
Fifty smokers from an outpatient clinic were randomly assigned to control and intervention groups. They were taught different ways of coping with smoking urges, i.e., counseling using the 12’M’ method (control group) versus Al-Quran recitation (intervention group). They met for four consecutive weeks of counselling and to fill out a withdrawal scale. Carbon monoxide (CO) levels were tested at baseline and at week 4. At week 12, the number of cigarettes smoked was measured again. The decrease in the number of cigarettes considered to be clinically significant for the calculation of sample size was based on expert opinion
The reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked was 7 cigarettes in the counselling group and 9 cigarettes in Al-Quran recitation group over 12 weeks duration. There was a statistically significant difference in the number of cigarettes smoked between the groups. There was also a statistically significant difference in the change in cravings between the groups at week 4 (p-value = 0.005). However, the difference in the changes in CO levels between the two groups was not statistically significant.