-- Use the powerful Monday motivator --

Newswise — Thousands of smokers will quit on Thursday, November 17th, with the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout. But many will be puffing away by Christmas and will need to quit several times before quitting for good.

The Quit & Stay Quit Monday, a nonprofit initiative backed by leading public health schools, says Smokeout quitters can stay on track by using Monday as the day to recommit and re-quit if they relapse.

"Monday is like the January of the week. People see it as an opportunity for a fresh start and are more likely to start or restart healthy behaviors on Monday than any other day” says Sid Lerner, chairman of the Monday Campaigns. “It's a natural restart day to change old bad habits into positive new ones, or to get back on the wagon if you've fallen off."

The power of Monday has worked for millions around the world. Meatless Monday is now in 21 countries and is offered by celebrity chefs like Mario Batali and thousands of corporate and school cafeterias, restaurants and whole communities. “That same weekly behavior nudge that drives the success of Meatless Monday can help smokers to kick their habit, too, and keep it kicked," says Dr. Robert Lawrence, director of The Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Fran Stillman, co-director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control at Johns Hopkins, says "studies show a high relapse rate for most first-time quitters and it takes multiple attempts for most smokers to quit for good. The idea of using each Monday as the day for quitters to reaffirm their smoke cessation goal is a sensible way to stay on track.” The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has leveraged the motivating power of Monday with the “Smokefree Monday Pledge” and “Healthy Monday Challenge” via its smokefree.gov website.  Every week, visitors to the site are urged to renew their commitment to being smoke-free and receive health tips that can help them stay on track.  Participants can also connect with other quitters on smokefree.gov’s thriving Facebook and Twitter communities.

Why Staying Quit Is Important ‧ Cigarette smoking causes an estimated 443,000 deaths each year, including approximately 49,400 deaths due to exposure to secondhand smoke. ‧ Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women in the United States, and 90 percent of lung cancer deaths among men and approximately 80 percent of lung cancer deaths among women are due to smoking. ‧ People who smoke are up to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than nonsmokers, and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Smoking also causes most cases of chronic lung disease.Source: National Cancer Institute

Resources‧ Visit www.mondaycampaigns.org for free resources on using Monday to promote a range of health behaviors.

‧ Take the Healthy Monday Challenge at www.smokefree.gov and get tips and resources designed for women at www.women.smokefree.gov.

‧ Call 1-800-Quit-Now, the national tobacco quitline, to talk with counselors and get referrals to local resources

‧ Visit websites of the American Cancer Society www.cancer.org and National Cancer Institute www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/tobacco/smoking for more information.

The Monday Campaigns is a nonprofit organization associated with Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse Universities that dedicates the first day of every week to health. Their goal is to create a movement of individuals and organizations that join together every Monday to commit to healthy behaviors that can help end preventable chronic diseases.