Ontario man trades in 30 year addiction for new car

Canadian Cancer Society awards prizes to 11 tobacco-free winners

TORONTO, April 18 /CNW/ - Brian Perkins of Brantford, Ontario, was awarded a brand new hybrid in Toronto this morning after quitting smoking in the Canadian Cancer Society Driven to Quit Challenge. He was recognized by Martin Kabat, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division, and the Honourable Margarett Best, Minister of Health Promotion and Sport, at an official prize presentation.

In its sixth year, The Driven to Quit Challenge is a health promotion campaign that encourages Ontario tobacco users to make a quit attempt with the support of a "buddy" for their chance to win. Since 2006, The Driven to Quit Challenge has inspired more than 165,000 registrants to make a quit attempt. More than 36,000 of those participated in 2011 alone, marking a record year for The Challenge.

Perkins smoked about a pack a day for more than 30 years. He is not only the first male to win the grand prize in The Challenge, he is also the first recipient who got to choose his vehicle.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be chosen as a winner, but becoming a non-smoker is equally exciting," said Perkins. "The Driven to Quit Challenge gave me a starting point and additional incentive to say on course."

Perkins chose the Insight, but he wasn't the only one who drove away happy. Secondary winners, Jacqueline Kobow of Acton and Jennifer Smith of Hamilton, will each be enjoying $5,000 CAA vacation getaways. Seven others received $2,000 MasterCard gift cards. An early bird entrant took home a $1,000 gift card. Winners were required to verify that they had not used tobacco at all during the month of March 2011. Eleven support buddies were acknowledged, each taking home a $200 MasterCard gift card.

"We often hear from Driven to Quit Challenge entrants that their true prize is becoming smoke-free," said Martin Kabat CEO, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. "We know that 30 per cent of cancers are caused by tobacco use. I would like to personally congratulate all of the Ontarians who took The Challenge this year, over 36,000 of them, and commend them on their step toward a healthier lifestyle."

All participants in The Challenge are encouraged to get support to help them stay smoke-free by connecting with the Canadian Cancer Society Smokers' Helpline, toll-free, at 1 877 513-5333 and SmokersHelpline.ca.

"Congratulations to today's Driven to Quit Challenge winners for quitting smoking. And congratulations to the thousands of participants, and their buddies, who have taken steps to kick this deadly addiction. Our government is committed to helping Ontarians quit so they can enjoy healthier, more active, smoke-free lives," says Margarett Best, Minister of Health Promotion and Sport.

The Driven to Quit Challenge is hosted by the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport and generous prize support from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Inc. The Driven to Quit Challenge is presented in collaboration with local public health departments across the province. The public can view a full list of winners at driventoquit.ca.

About the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For further information:

For more information about The Driven to Quit Challenge and to speak with a Canadian Cancer Society spokesperson, please contact:

Patrick Erlich 
Media Profile
Office: 416 342-1835
Mobile: 416 318-3821
patrick.erlich@mediaprofile.com

To speak with a spokesperson from the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, please contact: 

Wendy Vincent 
Communications Advisor
Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport, Office of the Minister
Office: 416 326-8497
wendy.vincent@ontario.ca