Record Numbers Enrol for 2011 Contest

TORONTO, April 13 /CNW/ - A record number of Ontario post-secondary students rose to the challenge to 'leave their packs behind' for the 10th consecutive year, moving towards healthier lifestyles by becoming smoke-free.

In collaboration with peer health educators, campus health professionals and campus administration, Leave The Pack Behind encouraged students to quit smoking during the contest, which ran from January 24 to March 7, 2011, with the help of a "buddy", weekly support emails and free samples of smoking cessation aids.

As part of Leave The Pack Behind's provincial wouldurather... contest, more than 4,300 students across 51 campuses entered into one of four categories for their chance to win cash, tuition waivers, and other great prizes.  The categories included:

  • Quit For Good (quit smoking completely!)
  • Keep The Count (cut back on smoking by 50 per cent)
  • Party Without The Smoke (refrain from smoking when drinking alcohol)
  • Don't Start and Win (stay smoke-free)

This year, more than 1,500 smokers signed up to quit smoking for the chance to win $2,000 worth of cash prizes. This accounts for a 13 per cent increase from last year's registration numbers.

This year's winners included students from Lakehead University, Fleming College, York University and McMaster University.

"Eighteen per cent of young adults ages 20 to 24 continue to smoke in Ontario - the highest smoking prevalence of any age group in the province," says Kelli-an Lawrance, Associate Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences at Brock University and Co-Director of LTPB. "The Leave The Pack Behind program and wouldurather... contest is a great way to support students and help motivate them to quit smoking so that they can live long, healthy lives. Thanks to Pfizer Canada's support, this year was a great success as we were able to engage more students in the quitting process and we are looking forward to motivating even more students to 'leave their packs behind' in 2012."

The province-wide Leave The Pack Behind program, which was initiated at Brock University in 2000, is an age-tailored tobacco control initiative funded under the province's Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy by the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport. The program provides smoking awareness campaigns and cessation services to more than 563,000 post-secondary students, including an estimated 144,000 smokers.

"We're excited to have the opportunity to support this important Smoke-Free Ontario Program," says Sean Kelly, Director, Patient Access & Health Policy (Ontario), Pfizer Canada.  "Ultimately, we want to help Canadians live healthier, more balanced lives.  Through this program, we are helping to provide support to those who want to quit smoking, but may not otherwise have access to the help they need to do so successfully."

For more information on the program, contest, resources and testimonials from this year's participants, visit www.leavethepackbehind.org.

SOURCE Leave The Pack Behind

For further information:

Lindsay Taylor          Kristen King
Leave The Pack Behind         NATIONAL Public Relations
905-688-5550 x5838          416-848-1427
289-259-9834 (cell)          kking@national.ca


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