June 4, 2014 8:00 pm

WATCH: Penticton woman takes on challenge to butt out

PENTICTON — It’s a habit many people would like to break but can’t — smoking.

While B.C. boasts the lowest rate of smoking in the whole country,  15 per cent of British Columbians continue lighting up.

Now, the B.C. Lung Association is ramping up its campaign to encourage smokers to quit.

It has launched a contest that gives smokers the chance to win one thousand dollars.  Participants must butt out for 7 days to be eligible to win.

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Penticton resident Autumn Bobyk is one of 1,500 British Columbians who is using the contest as an incentive to give up smoking once and for all.

The 50-year-old woman has smoked half her life.

She’s tried a dozen or so times to quit and is now determined to butt out for good for both health and financial reasons.

Despite working full time at the Salvation Army, Bobyk struggles to make ends meet.

In fact, she’s not only a staffer at the local Salvation Army, she’s also a client who uses the organization’s food bank on a regular basis.

“It makes no sense it’s crazy that I think I can smoke when I can’t. I don’t have the money. I had a bit of money after my mom died and the sale of the house and I basically smoked it away,” says Bobyk.

It’s a story that’s all too familiar to Barb Stewart.

Stewart runs the Salvation Army Food Bank and says a large percentage of her clients are smokers who desperately want to quit.

“They are scraping money together to nourish their bodies and the people feel they are wasting their money on smokes and can’t quit,” says Stewart.

Stewart is hoping to help her clients quit by creating an e-book of success stories.

She’s encouraging former smokers to write in letters of how they managed to kick the habit and the impact the decision has had.

To send letters of encouragement here www.healthresearch.ca

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