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Sponsor David Graham and ex-smoker Pauline Kline
"It can be hard to give up"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 2 May, 2000, 08:02 GMT 09:02 UK
$10,000 to quit smoking
Smoking is on the increase world-wide
Smokers are being offered a $10,000 cash prize to quit the habit by entering an international competition.

The contest to "give up", has the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and starts next week.

People who have been smoking for at least a year - and who stop smoking for the entire month of May - are qualified to enter the competition.

The Quit and Win 2000 contest is an attempt to counter a huge global increase in the numbers of smoking.

Approximately 1.2 billion people use tobacco world-wide, and 4 million die from smoking-related illnesses each year.

The WHO believes not enough is being done to help smokers who want to give up.

Leading cause of death

It predicts that by the year 2030, tobacco is likely to be the world's leading cause of death and disability, killing more than 10 million people annually and claiming more lives than Aids, tuberculosis,car accidents, suicide and murder combined.

The Quit and Win competition has run every two years since 1994.

It is part of an international campaign to raise awareness of the health issues associated with smoking and the problems of quitting the habit.

David Graham, a director of Nicorette, one of the sponsors of the competition, said competitors would have to produce a witness to attest to the fact that they had succesfully given up smoking, and possibly undergo a simple biochemical test for traces of nicotine.

The WHO, which is backed by a number of major pharmaceutical companies, expects that a million smokers world-wide will take part in the contest.

Each country will arrange its own competition and prizes.

An international super prize of $10,000 and six regional prizes of $2,500 will be awarded following a draw among the winners of each country.

The winner of the international super prize will travel to the World Exposition EXPO 2000 in Hanover, Germany on 29 August 2000 to receive a cheque from WHO director general Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland.

Amanda Sandford, research manager for the anti-smoking charity Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), welcomed the competition.

She said: "A lot of smokers feel that they will get round to giving up some day, but a significant number wait until they become ill before making that step.

"If competitions like this provide them with an incentive to take action before they reach that stage then so much the better."

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