09/27/12 If you are a smoker who is thinking of quitting, now is the perfect time. Not only will quitting tobacco provide health benefits, you could also be eligible to win cash prizes up to $2,500 by signing up for the 2012 Quit Now Indiana Contest by September 30.

The Quit Now Indiana Contest challenges Hoosier smokers to quit tobacco for the month of October.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), positive lifestyle changes increase the success rates of people trying to quit smoking. This year’s participants are encouraged to replace smoking with healthy habits like proper nutrition, increased consumption of water and exercise.

“Improvements in diet and exercise can help ease the transition both physically and mentally of going from being a smoker to a nonsmoker,” said State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin. M.D. “Our quit coaches can help by providing support, tips and other resources. The contest offers a great incentive to quit smoking and the Quitline is a reliable resource that will help you succeed. Call the Indiana Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.”

The 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. 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.

“The Quit Now Indiana Contest directly aligns with our Tobacco Cessation Program that aims to modify behavior and manage the dependence of tobacco,” said Molly Alberts, RN, clinical supervisor of the St.Vincent COAG Clinic. “Through partnerships such as Quit Now Indiana, we are able to collaborate to prevent and treat the usage of tobacco within our community.”

On July 1, 2012, the statewide smoke free air law went into effect. State and local tobacco prevention partners have been educating employers about the new 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.

To enter, read contest rules and learn more about the resources available to help you or a friend quit smoking today, visit www.QuitNowIndiana.com. To learn more about healthy lifestyle choices that will help you quit tobacco for good, visit www.INShapeIndiana.org