2014-03-20 | Press release

19,000 smokers take up the challenge of a lifetime!

They have committed to not smoking until April 11

Montreal, March 20, 2014 – For the past 3 weeks, 19,000 Quebec smokers have taken up the 15th Quit to Win! Challenge. By registering, they committed to not smoking for at least 6 weeks, between March 1 and April 11. In return, they receive free support in order to maximize their chances of success… and also stand a chance of winning one of numerous prizes!

As much free support as ever

The Challenge offers a flexible formula to smokers who want to butt out. In particular, they can choose any of the numerous tools available, including:

  • the encouragement emails
  • the participant’s file at quitchallenge.ca, which includes a journal and a savings calculator
  • the Jean Coutu to the Rescue Support Kit
  • the new SOS Challenge mobile app

And because sharing with other participants can be a great source of motivation for many people, participants are invited to talk about their experience on the campaign’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/defitabac). Information and tips are also available all year-round on the quitchallenge.ca website.

For the 15th anniversary of the campaign, participants stand a chance of winning one of the 2 grand prizes: 2 all-inclusive trips to the sun destinations of Puerto Plata and Cancun, courtesy of Transat Holidays and Iberostar.


  • 19,012 participants have registered this year.
  • 80% of participants registered alone, 7% with a sponsor and 13% with a teammate.
  • 14,000 kits were distributed in Jean Coutu Pharmacies throughout Quebec.
  • 66% of participants are women and 34% men.
  • The average age of participants is 42 years.
  • The majority of participants are in the age group of 20 to 34 years.

A campaign unique to Quebec

Since the creation of the campaign in 2000, over 380,000 smokers have participated in it. On average, 2 out of 3 participants succeed in not smoking for the 6 weeks of the campaign. According to a study by the Montreal Public Health Department, one year after quitting, nearly 20% of them were still non-smokers, which is much higher than the abstinence rate of people who quit smoking without using an assistance method (between 3% and 5%).

“The importance of such a campaign is confirmed when we realize that there are still 1.6 million smokers in Quebec and that the health problems related to tobacco use are devastating,” says Dr. Roxane Néron. “Since the very beginning of the Challenge, our guiding principle has been the same: to offer free and motivating support to all those who are ready to take a step towards quitting.”

The Challenge in all regions of Quebec: a longstanding collaboration!

Each year, the Quit to Win! Challenge takes place in all the regions of Quebec thanks to the extensive participation of the Directions de santé publique (Public Health Departments). Hence each year numerous participants can benefit from additional support from one of the national cessation assistance services, such as the Quit Smoking Centres and the iQuitnow helpline (1 866 527-7383).

About the Quit to Win! Challenge

The Quit to Win! Challenge is a campaign that provides free support to smokers who want to quit smoking. Inspired by the World Health Organization’s Quit & Win international challenge that originated in Finland, it was created in 2000 by the Capsana team, then known under the name of ACTI-MENU, in partnership with Quebec's ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and the Direction de santé publique of the Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal. Since its creation, over 360,000 people of all ages have taken part in it.

The Quit to Win! Challenge is produced in partnership with several public and private organizations, including the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec, the directions de santé publique of the agences de la santé et des services sociaux du Québec, the Canadian Cancer Society, Jean Coutu and Novartis. For more information, visit www.quitchallenge.ca.

About Capsana

Capsana is a social enterprise owned by the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont Foundation, the ÉPIC Foundation and the Fondation PSI, and associated with the Montreal Heart Institute. Its mission is to help individuals take an active role in their health. Founded in 1988 under the name ACTI-MENU, Capsana is dedicated exclusively to the promotion of health and healthy lifestyles, as well as the prevention and management of chronic diseases.

Capsana is behind well-known social campaigns such as the 5/30 Health and Wellness Challenge, the Quit to Win! Challenge, and Smoke-Free Family, which are geared towards the general public, municipalities and families. It also implements health-promotion programs in the workplace and produces publications and other patient information tools for the clinical setting. The organization obtained the Healthy Enterprise – Elite certification from the Bureau de normalisation du Québec (Quebec Standards Bureau). For more information, visit www.capsana.ca.