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Smokers could win a Toyota Prius if they quit

SIMCOE, ON, JAN. 24, 2008 – The Canadian Cancer Society, in collaboration with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, is offering smokers a chance to win a 2008 Toyota Prius hybrid car.

“To get a chance at winning this energy efficient automobile, smokers must give up smoking for one month,” explained Health Unit Health Promoter Fiaza Siddiqi. “The cancer society, which holds the challenge annually, is also offering $3,000 in Future Shop gift certificates as secondary prizes.”

Last year, 232 smokers in Haldimand and Norfolk signed up for the challenge “and even though no one locally won the grand prize, everyone who took this step towards quitting was a winner,” Siddiqi pointed out. “The health benefits of quitting are immediate, regardless of how long you’ve been using tobacco products.”

Registration is now open at website and the deadline for entry is Feb. 29. People may also contact the Smokers’ Helpline at 1-877-513-5333. The draw takes place March 31 with the prizes given out on April 21.

To enter the contest, people must be at least 19 years of age and currently using a tobacco product daily, such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco or snuff. Contest participants must enlist a non-smoking buddy for support and remain smoke free for the month of March to have their names entered in a draw for the prizes. The buddy must confirm the smoker gave up the habit and potential prize winners must take a urine test to prove they didn’t smoke. The buddy is also eligible to win a $250 Future Shop gift certificate. Participants are allowed to use aids to help them butt out, including nicotine replacement therapies, such as the patch or gum.

“The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit offers tips to support smokers in their efforts to quit smoking,” Siddiqi said, “and we encourage smokers who want to enter the contest to contact us for this assistance. We know how tough it can be to quit smoking. We’re ready to help.”

Smokers seeking support may contact Siddiqi at the Health Unit, 519-426-6170 Ext. 3248.

The Driven to Quit Challenge is a health promotion campaign hosted by the Canadian Cancer Society’s Ontario Division, with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and prize support from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson Inc.

Media contact information: Fiaza Siddiqi, Health Promoter, Population Health, Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, 519-426-6170 Ext. 3248.