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Going smoke-free earns Breslau woman $500 in Canadian Cancer Society contest

A Breslau woman is enjoying a well-deserved reward for her efforts in staying smoke-free.

Moira Coffey received $500 for winning the Canadian Cancer Society’s First Week Challenge Contest, a monthly initiative motivating smokers in Ontario to try to quit for the first week of the month. She won for the month of December, having quit smoking on Nov. 20.

Two months later, she still hasn’t touched a cigarette.

She was motivated to win some extra cash, but also to ensure she’s around for  a long time for her daughter Macy.

“This time it was different because I have an eight-year-old now that really wanted me to quit. It bothers her – she doesn’t want me to die,” Coffey said.

She says she actually made her mom quit when she was around the same age, so now her mom and daughter are helping keep her motivated. She’s hoping to win the contest again in February.

A smoker since she was a teen, this is hardly her first time trying to give up the habit.

“I did a lot of three to five day quits in my past and then I quit when I got pregnant with my daughter and stayed quit for quite a while there. I’d say there were probably 10 serious attempts that didn’t last long,” Coffey said.

This time around she’s told herself she’s quitting for good. But it’s still a challenge and she has to remind herself to take it day by day. She recommends keeping yourself busy, and making healthier options a habit, like walking the dog.

“I personally never want to be a smoker again.”

For people who use cigarettes to calm down, she says once she got past the withdrawal stage she realized her anxiety was actually much better than it used to be when she smoked.

“I’m getting to that point now when the cravings happen I sort of say ‘is it worth it to be back to that place of wanting to quit and smoking?’ That’s why I think the contest is so cool because it’s an extra motivator. You always think when you’re ready, but you’re never fully ready.”

As for the prize money, her mom told her she had to spend the money on herself instead of bills, which she did. She bought two pairs of new winter boots with the money.

She encourages any smokers who have tried to quit smoking, to try, try again.

“Try. What’s one week? One week without smoking. If you see that you can do a week, you can do a day. If you have a relapse it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure, you just keep  trying.”

She says the support from her family has been crucial, as well as having online resources, and no matter how many times you’ve failed in the past, there’s nothing stopping you from quitting for good.

“I really think that you have to get inside the mindset of it and learn how it works for you, use the resources and go easy on yourself.”

Smokers can access resources to quit smoking and join the challenge at www.firstweekchallengecontest.ca.

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