TORONTO, Jan. 23, 2013 /CNW/ - To support Weedless Wednesday and National Non-Smoking week, post-secondary students from across the province are pledging to quit smoking, reduce their smoking, or stay smoke-free as part of the annual wouldurather... quit smoking contest hosted by Leave The Pack Behind (www.LeaveThePackBehind.org). Funded by the Government of Ontario with generous prize support from Pfizer Canada, the wouldurather... contest will motivate and encourage more than 600,000 students at Ontario colleges and universities to live tobacco-free.
More young adults than teens or older adults use tobacco, but they also report a stronger desire to give up smoking. Finding ways to help young adult smokers quit is important. The wouldurather... contest is a unique way of encouraging young adults to stop using tobacco. Recent research shows that about 20 percent of students who participate in the wouldurather… contest successfully quit smoking. Without the motivation and support of the contest, about 5 percent would do so.
This contest is effective because it appeals to young adults who smoke daily or socially. It offers smokers three different ways to change their smoking. They can quit smoking all together; they can cut their smoking in half; or they can refrain from smoking any time they are socializing and drinking alcohol. Non-smokers can also enter the contest by pledging to remain smoke-free. Besides the chance to win great prizes, all contestants receive motivational emails and support from a buddy. They also have the option of speaking with campus health professionals and using proven stop-smoking aides, some of which are available free of charge.
"Not only is smoking the number one cause of death and disease in Canada, every year Ontario spends $1.93 billion in direct health-care costs. That's why Ontario is committed to having the lowest smoking rates in Canada," said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "The wouldurather... contest is a great way to encourage Ontario's younger smoker to take their first step towards quitting and ensuring a healthier future for themselves and our province."
To participate in the 6-week long contest, Ontario post-secondary students simply sign up at www.LeaveThePackBehind.org/contest.php until January 27, 2013. A $1,000 grand prize is awarded to one lucky contestant who quits smoking all together. Other prizes include cash, tuition waivers, and gift cards to community and campus retailers.
"After five 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," said Kim Sommers, a student at the University of Ottawa who won last year's $1,000 grand prize. "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 use 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!"
Leave The Pack Behind is an age-tailored tobacco control initiative offered year-round on post-secondary campuses in Ontario. Leave The Pack Behind is available to over 600,000 students - including an estimated 155,000 smokers.
SOURCE: Leave The Pack Behind
For further information:
contact Lindsay Taylor, Assistant Manager of Leave The Pack Behind, at 905-688-5550, ext. 5838; e-mail: [email protected].