Hastings Prince Edward Public Health launches "wouldurather..." to support young adults to become smoke-free | Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health launches "wouldurather..." to support young adults to become smoke-free

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/January 8, 2018 – More young adults aged 18-29 in Ontario smoke compared to all other age groups, and they overwhelmingly say that they want to quit!

What is the best way to do that? Use evidence-based quit aids, and get into a program that is specifically tailored for them.

Once again, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is launching the exciting annual contest entitled "wouldurather...".  This year there are more than $10,000 in cash prizes to be won by young adults in Ontario who join the 6-week contest.

"In Hastings Prince Edward, approximately 76% of people who have ever smoked a whole cigarette did so before their 18th birthday. We know that it typically takes multiple attempts to quit smoking for good, so the earlier you start trying, the sooner you will have success", remarks Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Public Health Physician at HPEPH. "Due to a number of local factors, such as higher smoking rates and higher exposure to second-hand smoke, illnesses related to smoking including COPD, respiratory disease, stroke and lung cancer disproportionately affects residents of Hastings Prince Edward. We promote contests like this, as well as our weekly drop-in Nicotine Replacement Therapy clinics, to support and encourage as many quit attempts as possible until clients are successful!"

Quitting smoking can be difficult, and not everyone is ready to quit right now. This contest uniquely offers four different categories of smoking in order to meet participants where they are at right now. Smokers can enter to quit, cut back by half, or commit to staying away from smoking anytime they party or drink alcohol. Non-smokers and ex-smokers can also enter the contest to commit to continuing their smoke-free lifestyle.

Having the option to set more achievable goals helps contestants work their way up to quitting, like 2016 winner and Stirling native, Teigan Sparks.

"I tried in the past to quit smoking but it never seemed to work for me. Being involved in this contest motivated me to get started because I knew other people were doing the same thing. Once I was motivated to cut back on my smoking, at least when going out, I liked how I was feeling and decided to quit smoking entirely. Since then I've been smoke-free and I plan on staying that way" explains Sparks.

To support young adults to quit smoking successfully, the "wouldurather..." contest offers contestants the option to receive support emails, add a personal support crew, access 8-weeks of free nicotine patch or gum, and get proactive support calls or texts from Smokers Helpline.

Last year, more than 7,000 young adults entered the "wouldurather..." contest. Research suggests that up to 20% of individuals who enter the contest will quit smoking compared to the 5-7% success rate that can be expected when individuals quit on their own.

The "wouldurather..." contest is available to all young adults ages 18-29 who are residents of Ontario. Registration is open at wouldurather.ca until January 28th, 2018 at 11:59 pm.

Don't qualify for the "wouldurather..." contest? Hastings Prince Edward Public Health has many programs and services that can help people of all ages quit smoking.

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Media Contacts:

David Patterson, Health Promoter, Tobacco Team
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
613-966-5500 ext.511
Lindsay Taylor, Assistant Manager, Communications
Leave The Pack Behind
905-688-5550 ext. 5838

About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) operates one of 36 health units across Ontario. HPEPH provides dozens of programs and services, along with reliable health information, to a population of approximately 150,000 people in a 7,000 square km catchment area encompassing 17 municipalities. HPEPH's mission is to enable the people in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties to achieve and maintain optimal health through health protection and promotion, as well as disease and injury prevention. For more information, please visit www.hpepublichealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.