Quitting smoking? How to sustain the goal

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Stop for good: Research shows that smokers are most receptive to quit messages on Monday. The non-profit Quit & Stay Quit Monday campaign has developed free tools and social media resources to help smokers quit. | FILE PHOTO

Online resources

Individuals can join the stop-smoking community on Facebook www.facebook.com/QuitMonday and Twitter, www.twitter.com/QuitMonday.

Another new year, another resolution to quit smoking.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 70 percent of American smokers would like to kick the habit. Still, the majority of those who resolve to quit on Jan. 1 will be puffing away by Groundhog Day.

It can take from eight to 11 attempts to stop smoking for good, with the average quit attempt lasting just eight days before relapse. Instead of waiting for big annual events — like birthdays or New Year’s — experts recommend that smokers recommit to their quit every Monday.

“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 encouraging additional quit attempts has the potential to save lives.”

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 survey of state smoking quit-line data showed that Monday is often the most popular day for call-ins, and there’s a jump in call-ins every Monday after weekend lulls. Google searches for smoke cessation information consistently jump at the beginning of the week as well.

Since smokers are most receptive to quit messages on Monday, the non-profit Quit & Stay Quit Monday campaign has developed free tools and social media resources to help smokers quit leading up to New Year’s and stay quit every Monday thereafter.

Individuals can join the quit community on Facebook www.facebook.com/QuitMonday and Twitter, www.twitter.com/QuitMonday, while quit service providers can receive free promotional posters and weekly tips for distribution.

Quit & Stay Quit Monday founder Sid Lerner hopes these weekly materials will lead to more frequent cessation messaging and higher quit rates in 2013.

“Smoke cessation shouldn’t be an annual all-or-nothing,” Lerner said. “When quitters check in once a week, they get 52 chances a year to celebrate success or quickly try again.”

The Monday Campaigns