Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Barrie Office
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News Release

Driven to quit this year? Why not quit and win!

Jan 19, 2015
Chances are you’d like a new car this year. Chances are just as good that if you are an adult and you smoke, you’d like to quit.

SIMCOE MUSKOKA – Chances are you’d like a new car this year. Chances are just as good that if you are an adult and you smoke, you’d like to quit.

This year’s Driven to Quit Challenge gives you the opportunity to do both. 

 “Simcoe Muskoka residents are motivated to quit,’’ says Rebecca Harbridge, a public health nurse with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. “Ongoing surveying of Simcoe Muskoka adults done on behalf of the health unit shows that more than half of those who smoke would like to quit within the next six months, and most have tried to quit for at least one day as a first step.”

The Driven to Quit Challenge is designed to help people who use tobacco to take that next step, from thinking about quitting to actually setting a quit date. The challenge is open to Ontario adults 19 and older and you can register online at

Everyone who stays tobacco free for the month of March is entered into the draw for a new car. The winner can choose from a Scion tC, Toyota Corolla or Nissan Sentra. There are also seven regional prizes of $1,000. When you register a buddy to support you during the challenge, you become eligible for a second entry into the prize draw. The buddies of winners will also receive a $100 prize.

 “Once registered, participants will be offered free counselling through Smokers’ Helpline as well as discount coupons for nicotine replacement therapy to support the quit attempt,” says Tammy Adams, senior coordinator with Smokers’ Helpline. “Nicotine replacement therapy has been shown to ease withdrawal symptoms and when used with counselling has been shown to improve quit rates.”

The health unit also has quitting supports available and Harbridge said these include free, three-hour STOP smoking workshops that focus on counselling and a free supply of the nicotine patch. A list of upcoming workshops is available on the website at

 “While breaking a tobacco addiction is not easy, with planning, persistence and support, people are doing it every day,” said Harbridge. “We all know someone who has quit successfully. In fact, there are more people who have quit smoking than there are people who still smoke.”

That includes 2014 Driven to Quit winner Ralph Baxter of Thunder Bay, who quit smoking for good last year after 34 years and several quit attempts. He credits his loved ones as his motivation to succeed.

“Think about your motivation: being a great role model for your children; improving your health; or saving a whole pile of money,” Harbridge said. “Keep your goal front and centre and take it one day at a time.”

For more information about the challenge or supports to help you get started on the road to becoming tobacco free, call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520. For online or one-to-one telephone support call Smokers’ Helpline at 1-877-513-5333 and register for the Driven to Quit challenge at


The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit offers the following tips to help you quit successfully:

  • Tell family and friends you are trying to quit and ask for their support.
  • Make plans for how you will deal with triggers – go for a walk at break time.
  • Practice in advance of your quit date by cutting back.
  • Take it one day at a time. Every day you are tobacco free is a good day.
  • Ask for help.  It can be hard to do it alone and there are supports that can help.
  • Don’t quit quitting. If you have a slip, don’t give up. Try again – until you succeed.
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