08/29/12 Reducing tobacco use saves lives, but pairing those efforts with healthy diet and exercise choices can make quitting tobacco for good that much easier. The 2012 Quit Now Indiana will once again challenge Hoosier smokers to quit tobacco for the month of October.  The contest encourages tobacco users to use the summer months to “train” for this important challenge.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), positive lifestyle changes increase the success rates of people trying to quit smoking.  Good nutrition, increased consumption of water and exercise help with quitting tobacco.

“Quitting tobacco often takes planning and preparation,” said State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin, M.D.  “Make a ‘training’ plan for the first few months to help you form new habits during those times when you would be using tobacco. By incorporating more exercise into your day, making healthier eating choices, and drinking plenty of water, you’ll stay occupied, while at the same time, creating a healthier overall lifestyle and mindset.  We have plenty of Quit Coaches at the Indiana Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW, who can provide training tips that meet your needs.”

The statewide contest is designed to encourage Hoosiers using tobacco products to make an attempt to quit now by offering them a chance to win cash prizes up to $2,500 for remaining tobacco-free for 31 days. The promotional contest is part of a larger statewide campaign known as Quit Now Indiana, linking tobacco users to cessation resources. To be eligible to win, contestants must be 18 years or older, a legal resident of Indiana, a current tobacco user and stay tobacco free from October 1 through October 31, 2012. The registration period is now until September 30, 2012 (all entries must be received by midnight on September 30, 2012). Contest winners will be drawn at random and will be tested to make sure they are tobacco-free to be eligible to claim a prize(s).

The 2012 contest is supported by St. Vincent Health and MDWise Hoosier Alliance. Last year’s contest received over 4,500 entries representing every county in Indiana.

About 10,000 Hoosiers die each year from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.  For every smoking-related death, another 20 Hoosiers live with a smoking-related disease. Those who stop smoking dramatically reduce their risk for heart attacks, asthma attacks, cancers and other diseases.

The contest comes at an important time, as there are fewer places to smoke with the new statewide smoke free air law in Indiana.  Hoosier tobacco users can get free help in quitting from the Indiana Tobacco Quitline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

“Now is the perfect time to quit,” said Miranda Spitznagle, Indiana State Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Director. “The Indiana Tobacco Quitline is ready to help every Hoosier who wants to quit, be successful.”

State and local tobacco prevention partners have been educating employers about the new statewide smoke free air law.  The contest provides employers with a fun way to help their employees quit.  The Quit Now Preferred Employer Network currently consists of more than 800 employers in Indiana committed to helping their employees quit tobacco use. Last year with the participation of the Preferred Network employers, the campaign reached more than 150 worksites with this great incentive to quit tobacco. Employers interested in participating in the Preferred Employer Network can request contest materials at www.QuitNowIndiana.com or for additional information, call (317) 234-1787.

Eligible Hoosiers can register online at www.QuitNowIndiana.com  and www.INShapeIndiana.org   or at events such as the 1-800-QUIT-NOW Concert Series at the Lawn at White River State Park in Indianapolis. For contest rules and more about the resources available to you to quit smoking today, please visit the Quit Now Indiana website at www.QuitNowIndiana.com.