Following up on a New Year's resolution to quit smoking with a weekly re-commitment could be the trick to finally stay off cigarettes by taking advantage of natural weekly cycles, researchers said.
In a 2013 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers from San Diego State University, the Santa Fe Institute, The Monday Campaigns and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health monitored global Google search query logs from 2008 to 2012 in English, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish for searches related to quitting, such as "help quit smoking," to examine weekly patterns in smoking cessation contemplations for the first time.
The study found that people search about quitting smoking more often early in the week, with the highest query volumes on Mondays.
Besides catching smokers' attention on Mondays, weekly cues can help people stay on track with their quit attempts. Since it takes an average of seven to 10 quit attempts to succeed, encouraging people to requit or recommit to their quit attempt once a week can reduce the overall time it takes to quit for good.
Joanna Cohen, a co-author of the Google study and director of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Institute for Global Tobacco Control, believes "campaigns for people to quit may benefit from shifting to weekly cues to increase the number of quit attempts participants make each year." In other words, quitters can use Monday as a weekly re-set to make another quit attempt if they slip up.
Morgan Johnson, director of programs and research at the Monday Campaigns and another co-author of the Google paper, said that the surge in quitting contemplations on Monday can be used to provide social support for quitters, an important factor in long-term success.
The study has been published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology.