MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- 2009 has been a monumental year for Doug Dawson. Motivation of first-time fatherhood paired with "moneyvation," from QUITPLAN Services' QuitCash Challenge, helped the 31-year-old Columbia Heights man quit a 17-year smoking habit and win The Challenge. Nearly 2,000 Minnesotans, including Doug, attempted to quit tobacco use during October for a chance to win the $5,000 grand prize.
On Thursday, November 19, the day of the 34th annual Great American Smokeout, QUITPLAN Services will celebrate Doug's success in quitting smoking with a celebration event at the Mall of America in Bloomington. In addition to Doug's $5,000 grand prize, another contest participant will receive a $2,000 Mall of America gift card and two others will receive $1,000 Gander Mountain gift cards.
When Doug and his wife, Katie, learned they would welcome their first child, a baby boy, in March, they knew it was time to quit. Making the choice was especially important to Doug because his mother passed away, in part due to smoking, when he was only 14. After seeing The QuitCash Challenge promotion at the Minnesota State Fair, Doug decided to try quitting tobacco for good.
"It was all about the baby...to help my wife quit and to live a healthier life for me and the child," Doug said. "I went on [quitplan.com] and did the whole 'fill out your plan' to help you quit. I looked at some of the things they were saying about what to do, what to expect as the weeks went on."
"We were delighted to learn that Doug had used The QuitCash Challenge and QUITPLAN Services to help him and his family stay tobacco-free," said David Willoughby, Chief Executive Officer at ClearWay Minnesota(SM), the nonprofit organization that administers QUITPLAN Services. "We encourage Minnesota tobacco users looking to quit to use QUITPLAN Services any time of the year to achieve success."
Minnesota smokers registered for The QuitCash Challenge online at quitcash.com or via text message. Participants were encouraged to visit the QUITPLAN Services Facebook page for extra support and to learn useful tips to stay quit during The Challenge.
"With the sharp rise in the cost of cigarettes this past year, financially there really has never been a better time to quit," said Willoughby. "While a $5,000 prize is big motivator, the average pack-a-day smoker can save approximately $1,800 every year by quitting. In other words, you don't need a contest to create your own 'moneyvation.'"
The Great American Smokeout is recognized by the American Cancer Society as a platform to educate the public on the dangers associated with tobacco use and to encourage smokers to quit for a lifetime by starting with just one day. It's an appropriate day to educate Minnesotans how they can use QUITPLAN Services free options to quit tobacco use.
In addition to being unhealthy for the smoker, tobacco use takes its toll on all Minnesotans. Each year, 5,500 Minnesotans die from tobacco-related diseases, and the cost of smoking is estimated to be $2 billion in direct health care costs. Minnesotans can find out about the free help to quit smoking available through QUITPLAN Services by visiting quitplan.com or calling 1-888-354-PLAN (7526).
QUITPLAN® Services for Minnesotans include:
- The QUITPLAN® Helpline - The QUITPLAN Helpline offers telephone counseling and free nicotine patches, lozenges or gum to eligible callers. 1-888-354-PLAN (7526)
- quitplan.com - The Web site offers free lifetime membership, helpful quitting tools and activities and the chance to connect online with thousands of others who have chosen to quit tobacco.
- QUITPLAN® Centers - QUITPLAN Centers provide in-person counseling in a health care setting, as well as access to nicotine patches, lozenges or gum.
- Community-Tailored QUITPLAN® Centers - A combination of stop-smoking tools and culturally tailored counseling is available for communities of color.
- QUITPLAN® at Work - The QUITPLAN at Work program offers free on-site professional group counseling for eligible businesses with at least eight employees ready to stop smoking.
About ClearWay Minnesota(SM)
ClearWay Minnesota is an independent nonprofit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, QUITPLAN® stop-smoking services and statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement. For more information on ClearWay Minnesota or QUITPLAN Services, call 952-767-1400 or visit clearwaymn.org.
Contact: Mike Sheldon Communications Manager (952) 767-1425 Merete Wells Carmichael Lynch Spong (612) 375-8532 (605) 228-9838 mobile
SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota