From losing weight, to drinking more water, to seeing friends more - this is the season for New Year's resolutions and quitting smoking is topping the list.
Despite their strong resolve, many smokers who quit on New Year's will be puffing away by Groundhog's Day. According to Every Try Counts initiative from the FDA, approximately two out of three adult smokers, more than 22 million people, say they would like to quit. However, in 2015, of the 55 percent of adult smokers who made a quit attempt, only 7 percent were successful.
‘'Quit smoking' queries are 25 percent higher on Mondays than other days, amounting to eight million more 'quit smoking' searches per year on Monday.’
How can smokers break the pattern of failure? Experts suggest that rather than relying on a big annual day like New Year's, smokers can adopt a strategy of recommitting to their quit every week, giving them 52 chances a year to stay on track. Monday is an ideal "recommit day" because people are most open to healthy behavior, including quitting smoking.
Dr. Joanna Cohen, PhD, director of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Institute for Global Tobacco Control, says, "Studies show that Mondays are a natural opportunity to engage smokers and reduce their likelihood of relapse. It's the January of the week, the day that smokers are looking for help."
A recent Johns Hopkins study of 69,237 visitors to the Truth Initiative's Become an Ex website showed higher enrollment rates at the beginning of the week. This builds on the findings of a 2013 study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, showing "quit smoking" queries are 25 percent higher on Mondays than other days, amounting to eight million more quit smoking searches per year on Monday across seven different languages.
The Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit public health organization that promotes the idea of using Monday as a day to commit to healthy behaviors calls this phenomenon the "Monday Fresh Start" effect. A 2017 survey of 1,000 respondents, conducted by DDG Research for The Monday Campaigns, showed that 35 percent of respondents see Monday as a day for a "fresh start" while 20 percent look to this day to "get their act together." They are more likely to start diets, exercise regimens and quit smoking on Monday than any other day.
This 2018, New Year's falls on a Monday so it's a perfect opportunity to join the Quit and Stay Quit Monday movement. Smokers can follow these simple steps to become a Monday quitter:
Quit on Monday.
Make a quit plan.
Connect with others.
Do a Monday check-in.
Quit again if you relapse.
The Quit & Stay Quit website provides science-based tools and methods that can help support smokers with their smoking cessation journey. The website also offers promotional materials and weekly newsletters that encourage a commitment to quitting and that provide motivational quit tips designed for individuals, smoking cessation counselors, corporations, U.S. government agencies and other organizations. These free resources can be adapted into existing quit smoking programs or used as a freestanding campaign. Organizations are encouraged to share the information and incorporate the Monday concept into their smoking cessation programs.
Quit & Stay Quit Monday is a program of The Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit organization working in association with The Lerner Centers for Public Health Promotion at Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse universities. The organization's programs dedicate the first day of every week to health, and support a global movement of individuals and organizations committed to public health and ending preventable diseases.