Frequently Asked Questions

Participating in The First Week Challenge Contest

  • What is this all about?

    We are challenging people in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, or the Yukon who smoke or use other kinds of commercial tobacco to quit for 7 days, and we are offering 2  $500 cash prize to encourage people to try.

  • Why “First Week”?

    Well, the first week is important. If you are successful for 7 days, you’re 9X more likely to quit for good1. And that’s amazing!

    1 Tonnesen P, et al. European Respiratory Journal 1999, 12:238-246
  • What is the catch?

    No catch! We know that most smokers want to quit and are hoping that this challenge will be the little extra nudge you need to turn your urge to quit into action. We even have some great optional services to help you quit successfully. No purchase is necessary to enter The First Week Challenge Contest, and using Smokers’ Helpline will not increase your chances of winning (only of quitting smoking successfully!)

  • Who is eligible to enter?

    You can enter The First Week Challenge Contest if you are:

    • Are a current smoker or commercial tobacco user, or someone who quit within the last three months;
    • have smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your life;
    • are a resident of Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan or the Yukon; OR is a resident of and identifies as an Indigenous person in British Columbia; AND 
    • are the age of majority in your province or older.
      • This means that if you reside in Manitoba, Ontario or Prince Edward Island or Saskatchewan, you are eligible to enter if you are 18 years of age or older. 
      • This means that if you reside in British Columbia or Yukon, you are eligible to enter if you are 19 years of age or older.

    For greater clarity, check out the legalese in the contest rules.

  • Who is eligible to win?

    To be eligible to win, stay tobacco-free from 12:01 AM local time on the first day of the month until 11:59 PM local time on the seventh day of the month (It is strongly recommend that all entrants remain tobacco-free until after the winners are formally announced, since we may need to select alternate potential winners in accordance with the rules).

    Note: Contestants are permitted to use nicotine replacement therapies (e.g. patch, gum, inhaler or lozenges) during the contest period.

  • Why is this Challenge not available in my province?
    While every province and territory in Canada has a quitline, Canadian Cancer Society’s Smokers’ Helpline only provides services in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and the Yukon. Any Canadian can call 1-866-366-3667 (the number on cigarette packages) to be connected to the quitline in their province or territory, or can visit to find their quitline website.  
  • How do I enter?

    Before midnight ET on the last day of the month, visit the online registration form to register.

  • What if I need help registering?

    If you need assistance to fill out your registration form, you can call Smokers’ Helpline toll-free by calling 1 866 641-7675, or by calling the number on cigarette packages.

  • What is the deadline to register?

    The online registration deadline is 11:59 PM ET on the last day of every month. The telephone registration deadline is 4:59 p.m. ET on the last day of the month. If you register after this time, you will be entered into the next month’s contest.

  • How will I know if I entered successfully?

    You will be sent a confirmation of your registration to the email address that you provide. The email should arrive within 24 hours of registering. It is possible that our email could go to your junk mail or get blocked by a spam filter. If you do not receive an email, you can confirm that you are registered, by calling us toll-free at 1 866 641-7675 (or at the number on cigarette packages) or emailing

  • Are people who chew tobacco eligible?

    Yes, the Challenge is open to all tobacco users who want to quit. To be eligible to win you must quit all forms of tobacco for 7 days.

  • Can I register again next month?

    We know that in order to succeed sometime you have to quit and quit again. Every quit attempt will bring you closer to your goal of a tobacco-free life. If you are still eligible, you are encouraged to enter until you have quit smoking for good. You are eligible to enter the Challenge if you are a current tobacco user, or if you have quit within 3 months before the start of the entry period, and have smoked at least 100 times in your life.

  • What do I do if my contact information changes?

    If your contact information changes prior to prize winners being announced, please notify us by calling Smokers’ Helpline, toll-free, 1 866 641-7675 (or the number on cigarette packages) or by emailing us at If your name is drawn as a winner in the Challenge, we must be able to reach you at the phone number you have provided.

  • What do you do with the information you collect about me?

    We use the information you provide for the purpose of administering the Challenge, in accordance with the Canadian Cancer Society privacy policy. You can find the policy on our website, or by emailing, or by calling 1-800-268-8874, extension 2257).

Challenge Prizes

  • What are the prizes I can win?

    Each month, One person from Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, or the Yukon will be selected at random to win $500. And one Talk Tobacco registrant from British Columbia will be selected at random to win $500.

    Prizing for Smokers Helpline and TalkTobacco clients is provided by Kenvue Canada Inc. Prizing for TalkTobacco British Columbia clients is provided by First Nations Authority of British Columbia. Thank you to Kenvue Canada Inc. and First Nations Authority of British Columbia for supporting First Week Challenge Contest.

  • What are my chances of winning?

    Odds of winning in The First Week Challenge Contest depend entirely on total number of eligible entries received.

  • How can I find out who won?

    If you opted to receive email messages about the Challenge, you will receive a notice announcing the winner. Also, the winners will be announced on Smokers’ Helpline’s social media accounts @SmokersHelpline and, and posted on the Challenge website.

  • Why is a skill testing question required to award a prize?

    Answering an unaided, time-limited skill testing question is a legal requirement to give away a prize in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and the Yukon.

Quit Methods

  • Can I use therapeutic aids such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) or prescription cessation medication during The Challenge?

    Yes! Using a smoking cessation aid such as Nicotine Replacement Therapy (nicotine gum, nicotine patches, nicotine inhaler, nicotine oral spray or nicotine lozenges) or prescription medications such as bupropion (Zyban®) or Varenicline Tartrate (Champix®) are very effective at helping some people to quit successfully. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to help determine the best option for you.

    You can learn more about NRT or prescription options from a Smokers’ Helpline Quit Coach by calling 1 866 641-7675, or the number on cigarette packages.

    If you choose to use a patch, gum, inhaler, oral spray or lozenge, it may show up in the urine test that may be required; but don’t worry! There are guidelines used that indicate if someone has been smoking versus using a nicotine replacement therapy, so using NRT will not impact your chances of winning the Challenge.

  • Can I use e-cigarettes while participating in The Challenge?

    E-cigarettes are not regulated as a nicotine replacement therapy in Canada. As we do not know enough about the nicotine levels in e-cigarettes, using them may produce a positive result in a urine test and you may be disqualified as a winner, even if you did not use tobacco. We do not recommend using e-cigarettes.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

  • What is Nicotine Replacement Therapy or NRT?

    Nicotine Replacement Therapy or NRT is a medical product that works by reducing cravings caused by quitting smoking. Each product is available in different doses and your pharmacist or other health care provider can advise on the correct dose for you.

    NRT is currently available in 5 forms: patch, inhaler, oral spray, gum and lozenge. Each is available without a prescription at your drugstore.

  • How does NRT work?

    NRT allows controlled amounts of nicotine, the addictive ingredient in cigarettes and other tobacco products, to enter the blood stream to help to ease your cravings.

    When used properly, an NRT acts as a substitute for the nicotine product you are addicted to, and gradually reduces the amount of nicotine entering your body. Using an NRT can help you to wean yourself off of your dependence on nicotine.

  • Is using NRT safe?

    NRT allows you to have your “nicotine fix” in controlled amounts, without inhaling the dangerous chemicals that are in a cigarette. They are much safer than tobacco because they do not cause cancer.

  • Should I use NRT?

    Your doctor or pharmacist can help you decide if NRT is right for you. The type of NRT you should use may depend on your level of addiction, smoking habits and other factors that your doctor may identify.

  • How will I get the best results with NRT?

    The most effective way to quit smoking is to combine pharmacotherapy (NRT or prescription medication) with counselling. You can improve your chances of quitting, and get more information about NRT, by speaking to a non-judgemental Quit Coach at Smokers’ Helpline by calling 1 866 641-7675, or the number on cigarette packages. All Smokers’ Helpline services are free!


  • What support do you offer to people registered for The Challenge?
    • Smokers' Helpline, a free telephone service that provides one-on-one support, advice and information about quitting. Non-judgemental Quit Coaches can help you develop a personalized quit plan, can offer proven tips and tools, can refer you to local smoking cessation services in your community, and can provide encouragement and support as you quit. Anyone in Ontario can reach Smokers’ Helpline toll-free by calling 1 866 641-7675, or by calling the number on cigarette packages.
    •, an interactive web-based service available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, that offers self-directed support to people wanting to quit or needing help to stay smoke-free, including an active online community of quitters
    • Smokers’ Helpline Text Messaging (Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan only), for text support to your mobile device.  Text ‘iQuit’ to 123456 or log in to your account to register. Text messaging rates from your provider may apply.
    • Self-help publications available online or by mail from Smokers’ Helpline.