It’s one of the top goals for many New Year’s resolutioners: put the butts out for good.

The New Year is often a time when smokers decide to quit, but the first few months can be very tough.

A new campaign, however, is using a range of incentives – including free trips and moral support - to get people to butt out for good.

While on average smokers try four times to quit before they succeed, the Quit to Win campaign gives them tools so that they can quit long term.

The campaign challenges smokers to quit for six weeks starting April 1, offering incentives such as a $4000 travel voucher and a trip to Le Baluchon in Saint-Paulin.

But be warned: those who win will be forced to undergo a blood test to ensure they haven't smoked recently.
Participants are armed with peer support, helpful emails, phone calls, and are encouraged to get nicotine patches and lozenges from their doctors or pharmacists to help them stay on track.

An estimated 1.5 million Quebecers still smoke, including 24-year-old Annie Bourque, who said she tried to quit last year, but two months later, lit up again.

It's like losing your best friend, I think - the same feeling. You're always sad… and it's hard,” she said, adding that the problem is compounded because her friends also smoke.

“I would have to stop being with them, because they won't stop because I stop,” she said.

Bourque is one of the estimated 1.5 million Quebecers who still smoke.

The effects of smoking are well known and easy to spot, said nurse Denyse Lecat.

They're out of breath, they have no energy, their cardio-output is not very good, so you do see the effects,” she said.

The Quit to Win Challenge runs from March 1 to April 11. For more information, click here.