NEW YORK, Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- About 70% of the 46.6 million smokers in the U.S. would like to quit the habit, according to reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Thousands will try to quit on November 15, the 37th annual Great American Smokeout and even more will commit on their birthday or New Year's. But chances are they'll be puffing away in just a few weeks.
The average quit attempt lasts just eight days before smokers relapse, according to research by the University of Vermont. To help increase the chances of long-term success, public health experts recommend using Monday prompts to help smokers stay quit. Weekly reminders after pledging to quit could catch many smokers before they fall off the wagon, or help them jump back on if they've already relapsed.
"Research shows that Monday is the day people are open to starting healthy behaviors, so it's a good day to quit, celebrate success, and recover from relapses," said Joanna Cohen, director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death, so improving chances of success can save lives."
Dr. Thomas Glynn, director of cancer science and trends at the American Cancer Society, agreed that Mondays make sense in an interview with ABC News. "There's a logic to it," he said. "It's good to pick a time you're more busy, and Monday is ideal. It's the beginning of the week, beginning of a new non-smoking life for you."
Monday is more than a convenient starting point: it's the day most Americans plan their goals for the week ahead, making it the perfect time to focus on healthy habits. "Smokers can use Monday, the start of the week, to think ahead and keep moving in the right direction," said Sid Lerner, founder of The Monday Campaigns, a non-profit health initiative in association with John Hopkins, Syracuse and Columbia universities. "Our surveys show that people see Monday as a fresh start; it's when people are 'ready to buy' into health, and they're looking for help."
Why Monday is a Great Day to Quit and Stay Quit:
- As the first day of each new week, Monday is a built-in reset on our calendar, a recurring opportunity to start fresh after the weekend and plan for the days ahead.
- Recent Monday Campaigns' investigations found that Google searches for smoke cessation information consistently jump at the beginning of the week.
- A survey of state smoking quit-line data showed that Monday is often the most popular day for call-ins, and that there is a jump in call-ins every Monday after weekend lulls.
- The majority of those surveyed by the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) website, Smokefree.gov felt that Monday was the best day to quit smoking.
- NCI has found success with the Healthy Monday Challenge, an online competition to encourage quitters to check in weekly.
It's easy for organizations and individuals alike to tap into the Monday pattern for better health. Quitters can use Monday to map out situations when they would typically smoke and try to come up with effective solutions in advance. From there, they can stay accountable by scheduling weekly "appointments" with quit-line counselors or other support groups. If relapse occurs during the week, quitters can use Monday to quickly try again.
For more tips and information on how a Monday start can help you stop for good, visit MondayCampaigns.org/Stay-Quit.
SOURCE The Monday Campaigns