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CK youth can win $2500 by quitting smoking

Teen smokersYoung adults in Chatham-Kent are gearing up to better their health for a chance to win $2,500 in the annual ‘wouldurather…’ contest. Young adults between the ages of 18-29, or those attending a post-secondary school, can pledge to quit smoking, cut their smoking, or stay smoke-free as part of the contest hosted by the Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit and Leave The Back Behind.

In Ontario, young adults have the highest smoking rates. Here in Chatham-Kent, that is several points higher than the provincial average at 27.5 % for young adults aged 18-24. 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 and stay smoke-free.

This contest is effective because it is tailored 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; and for those who only “smoke on the weekend” there’s a category for them too. Non-smokers can also enter the contest by pledging to stay 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 receiving nicotine replacement therapy, like the patch or gum, free as a part of the contest.

To participate in the 6-week long contest, Ontario post-secondary students or young adults between the ages of 18-29 can sign up at from December 1st until January 26, 2014. Two $2,500 grand prizes are awarded to two lucky contestants who quit smoking. Other prizes include: cash, tuition waivers, and gift cards to community and campus retailers.

Leave The Pack Behind is an age-tailored tobacco control initiative offered year-round in Ontario. Funded by the Government of Ontario with generous prize support provided by the makers of Thrive and Habitrol, the ‘wouldurather…’ contest aims to motivate and encourage young adult Ontarians to live tobacco-free.

For more information: Jeff Moco, Youth Engagement Coordinator, Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit, 519-352-7270 ext. 2436