TORONTO, March 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Kim Sommers, a 4th year Finance student at the University of Ottawa has found herself $1,000 wealthier today as she was announced the grand prize winner of Leave The Pack Behind's wouldurather… contest. "After 5 years of smoking, I was sick of wasting my money ($2,000 per year) and having trouble doing activities that used to be easy like walking up stairs. The wouldurather… contest gave me the motivation that I needed to quit for good, and the encouragement I received from my best friend helped me stick with it. Now, I exercise for stress release and am more active than I have been in years. I remind myself daily that even if I'm tempted, smoking is just not worth it!"
A record breaking 8,115 Ontario post-secondary students registered in Leave The Pack Behind's 11th annual contest which was open to students at 44 University and College institutions. This year's registration numbers represent almost a 50% increase from last year's contest. Additional grand prize winners were students from Sault College, York University, and Brock University.
"I want to congratulate all of the students who participated in this year's wouldurather… contest and either took their first steps towards quitting, or made the commitment to remain smoke-free. I also want to thank all those who contributed to their friends' success by offering their support as a buddy. Encouraging people to quit smoking through programs like Leave The Pack Behind is an important part of keeping Ontario healthy," says Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
In collaboration with peer health educators, campus health professionals and campus administration, Leave The Pack Behind encouraged students to succeed in the contest with the help of a "buddy", weekly support emails, and free smoking cessation aids. The contest ran from January 23 to March 5, 2012 and gave students the chance to win their piece of the $2,000 worth of cash prizes donated by Pfizer Canada.
"Quitting smoking is not simply breaking a habit, but understanding that nicotine is an addiction," says Allen Van der Wee, General Manager, Primary Care Business Unit, Pfizer Canada. "Programs such as wouldurather…can help young Ontarians break out of this addiction so that they can live healthier, more balanced lives. We're excited to have the opportunity to support this important Smoke Free Ontario Program."
Leave The Pack Behind (LTPB) is an age-tailored tobacco control initiative funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Wouldurather… is a motivational contest offered as part of LTPB and is strongly supported by Pfizer Canada. LTPB provides programs that increase tobacco awareness among more than 598,000 post-secondary students, and cessation services to an estimated 155,000 student smokers.
Image with caption: "Photo 1 (L-R): Kristine Houde (UOHS Health Promotion Manager), Crysana Copeland (LTPB), Dominique Menard (LTPB), Francesco De Rose (LTPB), Kim Sommers (WUR Contest Winner), Madeline Dignan (LTPB Team Leader), Phil Jansson (LTPB), Dan Julien, NP (Health Services Smoking Cessation Program) (CNW Group/Leave The Pack Behind)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120327_C8123_PHOTO_EN_11600.jpg