New year, new start: Quit smoking contest

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If your New Year’s Resolution to quit or cut back on cigarettes has already gone up in smoke, this contest can give you a cash incentive to get back on track.

The Wouldurather contest (www.wouldurather.ca) is open to young people in Ontario between the ages of 18 to 29 years who regularly smoke, only smoke socially, have stopped smoking, or never smoked in their lives. As the contest name implies, participants are asked if they would rather reduce smoking or win cash prizes.

“If you’re are looking for a reason to give up or reduce tobacco use, the Wouldurather contest is a great way to motivate yourself,” said Jennifer Robertson, a public health nurse with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. “Wouldurather offers you a chance to win cash for quitting, but also provides plenty of support to help you along the way.”

People only have until January 27, to register for the Wouldurather contest, which runs over six weeks (Jan. 28 to Mar. 10). There are four categories to enter:

  • Quit For Good: Quit smoking completely and have a chance to win $2,500.
  • Keep The Count: Cut smoking by half to be eligible to win $1,000.
  • Party Without The Smoke: Cut out smoking while drinking or partying for a chance to win $500.
  • Don’t Start and Win: Stay smoke-free for an opportunity to win $250.

People can register with a ‘buddy’ who can support them during the contest. Additional quit-smoking resources are also available for participants in the Wouldurather contest, including access to no-cost nicotine replacement therapy (patch, gum).

Robertson says January is a perfect time to quit smoking, since National Non-Smoking Week (Jan. 20-26) and Weedless Wednesday (Jan. 23) both occur this month. Woulduather is organized by Leave the Pack Behind, a program funded by the Ontario government that helps young people become tobacco-free.

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