News archive

For Immediate Release

BC Quitters Win a Smoke-Free Life and Thousands in Cash!

February 23, 2011 – Six British Columbians are collecting their prizes after winning the BC Lung Association’s QuitNow & WIN contest. To qualify, they had to be British Columbians who remained tobacco-free from January 8 through February 4, 2011.

Grand prize winner and long-time smoker Debbie MacLeod of Vernon and her husband Winfield quit smoking together.

“We wanted to stop smoking for quite a while, but were always so busy running our restaurant, we made excuses,” says MacLeod who co-owns Lunch Matters Breakfast Too, a local Vernon diner open daily.

“Two of my husband’s family members are suffering from serious lung disease and we are constantly reminded of the need to live a healthier life, so when we heard about the contest we decided it was time,” continued MacLeod who admits having tried to quit a number of times before.

To combat the nicotine withdrawal the couple not only went to see their doctor to ask for some quit smoking medication, but decided to make significant lifestyle changes.

“The Champix medication is a great help. Neither of us have had any negative symptoms,” says MacLoed. “And we’ve completely changed our routine.  Every evening after eating dinner and watching  the news we play Wii Sport computer games for an hour or so then we have a healthy snack like low fat yoghurt or fruit. We’re determined to live healthier lives.”

MacLeod and her husband and quit buddy Winfield won $5,200 in cash prizes. Five thousand dollars goes to MacLeod as the grand prize winner and $200 goes to her quit buddy Winfield.  

When asked what the couple intend to do with the prize money, Mcleod says, “We’ve been putting the money we save not buying cigarettes in a savings account for a trip to Mexico. The prize money we intend to use to help pay down the money we owe since starting our restaurant four years ago! We feel so lucky to be smoke-free, and can’t quite believe we won the grand prize!”

Winners of the QuitNow & WIN contest were chosen randomly and had to verify their tobacco-free status with a urine sample and a carbon monoxide test. In addition to Debbie MacLeod and her husband, $1,000 regional prize winners also include:

Fraser Region: Dana Ball of Delta
Interior Region:  Krystal Madill of Kamloops
Northern Region: Eryn Collins of Prince George
Vancouver Coastal Region: Sandie Noble of Vancouver
Vancouver Island Region: Sandra Wolverton of Victoria
*Note: Each of the above winners’ quit buddies is awarded a $200 cash prize
Close to 10,000 people were directly involved in the contest – more than 4,800 registered to quit, and each of them had a buddy for support.  Registration for the contest ran from October 22, 2010 to January 7, 2011. People who wanted to quit smoking registered on the website.

Contest data shows that smokers entering the 2011 contest were 61 percent women and 39 percent men. Forty-five percent of participants were confident or very confident that they could quit smoking. Eighty-one percent of participants do not allow smoking in their homes.

“Overcoming nicotine addiction is very difficult and there is ‘no one-size fits all’ cure. That’s why, with its combined approach of incentives and encouragement, the QuitNow & WIN program has been so successful,” says Minister of Health Services Colin Hansen.

“The BC Lung Associations overall objective is to provide smokers with tools proven to increase smokers’ chances of quit success,” Jack Boomer, QuitNow Services Director for the BC Lung Association.

“For some smokers, the contest was just the incentive they needed to commit to quit, but for others it may take something different. Everyone is unique and we urge all smokers to explore and take advantage of the full range of l quit smoking services available through, including our newest offering - QuitNow By TXT – motivational quit smoking tips and messages sent directly to users’ cell phones!”

“We are very pleased to support the BC government and Lung Association in helping smokers quit,” says Cathy Gapp, Senior Manager, McNeil Consumer Healthcare. “The contest is a superb opportunity to help everyone understand how difficult quitting can be and how important it is to provide smokers with incentive to help them quit.”

Organized by the BC Lung Association through grant funding by the Ministry of Health Services, and support from McNeil Consumer Healthcare,  QuitNow Services are available free of charge to all British Columbians year round.

For more information about the 2011 QuitNow & WIN contest, to view photos of the winners and to read their stories, visit

Media contacts:

Jack Boomer, QuitNow Services Director, BC Lung Association
T 250.721.4268 C 250.589.4268 E

Katrina van Bylandt, Communications Manager, BC Lung Association
T 604.731.5864 Toll Free 1.800.665.5864 E



Privacy Statement & Disclaimer