For smokers looking to kick their nicotine habit, figuring out when to quit could be the most important part of the process. A recent study published in the Oct. 28 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Internal Medicine revealed that people are most likely to think about quitting as early in the week as Monday.

"Popular belief has been that the decision to quit smoking is unpredictable or even chaotic," explained the study's lead author, John W. Ayers, from San Diego State University. "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 behavior dependent on the day of the week."

Ayers and his colleagues combed through Google searches that were related to nicotine cessation, such as “help quit smoking,” that were logged between 2008 and 2012 in English, French, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. Researchers used six languages to establish a sense of global prevalence.

Results indicated a higher volume of Google searches related to smoking cessation on Monday compared to any other day of the week. The number of English Google searches on Monday was 11 percent higher than Wednesdays, 67 percent higher than Fridays, and 145 percent higher than Saturdays. Overall, Monday Google searches were 25 percent higher than the combined average for Tuesday through Saturday.

"Our discovery of weekly rhythms in smoking cessation behaviors begs other investigators to think about possible mechanisms and other behaviors," said Benjamin Althouse, a Santa Fe Institute Omidyar Fellow. "Just what is it about the days of the week and how ubiquitous are these patterns?"

The research team is confident that anti-smoking interventions that utilize a collective mindset rather than an individual specific approach could be the most effective. For example, offers an interactive quitting program that can be tailored to a person’s needs. Smokers can decide which method of quitting is best for them by logging certain lifestyle factors.

"Campaigns for people to quit may benefit from shifting to weekly cues," said Joanna E. Cohen, co-author and director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Global Tobacco Control. "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."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nicotine dependence is the most common chemical dependence in the United States. In an attempt to quit smoking for good, 23.7 million adult smokers in the U.S. stopped smoking for one day in 2010. And, 68.8 percent of current smokers admit that they want to kick the habit, but don’t have the means.

"Whether it's scheduling staff hours or buying media time, you are better off reaching people when they're thinking about their smoking habit, and Monday seems to be an ideal time,” said Morgan Johnson, co-author of the study and research director for The Monday Campaigns. “Moreover, social support is an important factor in helping people quit smoking; knowing they are not alone when reaching out for information can help them follow- through on their intentions to quit."