Kicking a smoking habit rewards your health and your wallet. But the return isn’t usually as big as a brand new Dodge Journey.
Yet that’s exactly what 45-year-old Thunder Bay resident Ralph Baxter, who gave up smoking after 33 years, received thanks to a Canadian Cancer Society competition.
Driven to Quit entices Ontario smokers to quit with the support of a “buddy” for a chance to win a car and other prizes.
But the driving force behind Baxter’s decision to stop smoking wasn’t the car – it was concerns about his health, and the loss of his brother to cancer seven years ago.
“Winning a new car is awesome,” he says. “But the real prize is that I succeeded in not smoking for one month.”
Baxter started smoking at age 11.
“I’m proud of this achievement,” he says. “It gives me the motivation to keep going and stay tobacco-free.”
According to the Canadian Cancer Society more than 11,300 people participated in this year’s challenge. Winners are required to quit smoking for the month of March and — to claim a prize — must demonstrate they have remained tobacco-free for the month of March 2014.
Seven regional winners were also awarded $ 1,000 each for completing the Driven to Quit Challenge.
Research shows if smokers can stop for one month, they are five times more likely to remain smoke-free.
According to the CCS, since 2006 Driven to Quit has inspired more than 213,000 Ontarians to make a quit attempt. Participants are encouraged to access Smokers’ Helpline and Smokers’ Helpline Online for cessation support.
John Atkinson, director of tobacco control and cancer prevention at the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario division says people need support when they are planning to quit smoking.
“Some need the support we provide through our Smokers’ Helpline and some benefit from the extra incentive of a prize to take that important step forward,” he says.
The Smokers’ Helpline is a free, confidential service that provides personalized support, advice and information about quitting smoking and tobacco use. Operated by the Canadian Cancer Society and funded by the Government of Ontario, the helpline offers phone support, online program and text messaging at 1-877-513-5333 and SmokersHelpline.ca.