bundles of banknotesContest to cut smoking offers $5,000 cash prize.

Province-wide contest helps students kick the habit of smoking

The student-led anti-tobacco program Leave the Pack Behind is encouraging smokers to quit. On November 15, the program launched its “wouldurather” contest, which rewards students for quitting, reducing their smoking, and staying tobacco-free.

The six week province-wide contest is designed for Ontario residents between the ages of 18 and 29.

“Wouldurather” has four categories:

  • Quit for Good: a smoker who quits could win $5,000;
  • Keep the Count: a smoker who reduces his or her tobacco use by 50 per cent could win $2,500;
  • Party without the Smoke: the social smoker who avoids cigarettes when drinking could win $1,000;
  • Don’t Start and Win: offers a lucky winner $500 for not taking up the habit.

Approximately one in four people start smoking after they are 18, so the last category aims at the wannabe smoker.

“Most young adults have their first cigarette after 18, which is basically when they come to university,” says Aicha Hassani, UWindsor campus coordinator of the contest, adding that the best way to reach the demographic is by talking to them on campus.

“Young adults associate drinking with smoking, which is really the worst since it’s hard to quit by then, so we’re trying to break the association,” says Hassani.

The group conducts outreach on campus, talking to students about smoking and quitting. Its members set up booths, where they offer informational material on how to quit smoking and how to help family members who smoke, as well as holding educational talks.

The contest is open until January 22 and the draw will be held on March 6. Early-bird entrants who register between November 15 and December 31 will be entered in an additional draw for a $500 prize. To register visit the contest website. For more information on Leave the Pack Behind, visit its website or Facebook page.

—Loren Mastracci