“Would u rather” smoke or win a cash prize? | Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

“Would u rather” smoke or win a cash prize?

Hastings & Prince Edward Counties/December 9th, 2013- Young adults in Ontario are gearing up to better their health for a chance to win $2,500 in the “Would u rather” quit smoking contest.

Anyone 18-29 years of age can pledge to quit smoking, reduce their smoking, or stay smoke-free as part of the contest hosted by the Hastings & Prince Edward Counties Health Unit and Leave The Back Behind.
More young adults than teens or older adults use tobacco, with the most recent Health Canada survey showing that 40.4% of young adults aged 19-34 living in Hastings and Prince Edward counties are current smokers. Finding ways to help young adult smokers quit is important to the Health Unit.

“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; or they can refrain from smoking any time they are socializing and drinking alcohol” says Rebecca Mathers, Health Promoter with the Health Unit. “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 receiving nicotine replacement therapy, like the patch and gum, for free as a part of this 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 www.wouldurather.ca from December 1st until January 26, 2014.

Two $2,500 grand prizes are awarded to two lucky contestants who quit smoking all together. Other prizes include (more!) 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 “Would u rather” contest aims to motivate and encourage young adult Ontarians to live tobacco-free. 

Recent research shows that about 20 percent of students who participate in the “Would u rather” contest successfully quit smoking and stay smoke-free. Without the motivation and support of the contest, about 5 percent would do so.

For more information please contact:

Rebecca Mathers, Health Promoter, Hastings Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, at 613-966-5500 ext. 337; rmathers@hpechu.on.ca.

Roberto Almeida, Program Manager, Hastings Prince Edward Counties Health Unit, at 613-966-5500 ext. 346; ralmeida@hpechu.on.ca.