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Every Monday Should Be World No Tobacco Day

Johns Hopkins smoking cessation expert explains why

On Tuesday, May 31st, the World Health Organization hopes to spur the nearly one billion smokers worldwide to put down their cigarettes for World No Tobacco Day.

While this annual event generates media attention and is a potential starting point for many quit attempts, without a sustained effort these smokers will likely be puffing away again in a matter of weeks.

Researchers say that one way to keep the momentum going after this once-a-year push to get smokers’ attention, is to use every Monday as a weekly opportunity to support smokers in their efforts to quit and stay quit.

An analysis of Google search patterns published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed a striking trend: at the beginning of every week, there is a surge in online searches for “quit smoking.” This trend was consistent not only over the four years analyzed, but also across six languages, pointing to Monday as a potential global leverage point for communicating about quitting smoking. In fact, there are approximately eight million more searches per year for “quit smoking” on Mondays compared to other days.

Dr. Joanna Cohen, coauthor of the Google study and director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, sees potential in taking advantage of this “open to buy” mindset on Mondays.

“Quitting smoking can be a difficult process,” said Cohen. “The six million tobacco-caused deaths around the world each year are an outright tragedy, particularly because each of these deaths is completely preventable. Far too many of us have lost loved ones to tobacco. Monday is like the New Year’s of the week, and can be used a great cue to quit smoking, to help people stay quit.”

Dr. Cohen and her colleagues are working with The Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit public health organization dedicated to establishing Monday as a good day to promote healthy behavior, and to develop tools for organizations and individuals to help people quit smoking. These resources, unified under the Quit and Stay Quit Monday campaign aim to help people quit and stay quit on World No Tobacco Day and beyond.

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