Monday is the day when smokers are most likely to think about quitting smoking, a new study of Google search queries has found.

Researchers from San Diego State University, the Santa Fe Institute, The Monday Campaigns and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined weekly patterns in smoking cessation contemplations for the first time.

They 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'.

The study found that people search about quitting smoking more often early in the week, with the highest query volumes on Mondays, using a daily measure representing the proportion of quit smoking searches to all searches.

This pattern was consistent across all six languages, suggesting a global predisposition to thinking about quitting smoking early in the week, particularly on Mondays.

English searches, for example, showed Monday query volumes were 11 per cent greater than on Wednesdays, 67 percent greater than on Fridays, and 145 percent greater than on Saturdays.

In total for all six languages, Monday query volumes were 25 percent higher than the combined mean number of searches for Tuesday through Sunday.

"Popular belief has been that the decision to quit smoking is unpredictable or even chaotic," said the study's lead author, San Diego State University's John W Ayers.

"By taking a bird's-eye view of Google searches, however, we find anything but chaos. Instead, Google search data reveal interest in quitting is part of a larger collective pattern of behaviour dependent on the day of the week," Ayers said.

"Campaigns for people to quit may benefit from shifting to weekly cues. We know it takes smokers many quit attempts before they succeed, so prompting them to try again on Mondays may be an effective and easy to implement campaign," said Joanna E Cohen, coauthor and Director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Global Tobacco Control.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine.


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