ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. – An Elkhart college student proved it truly does pay to quit smoking. 20 year-old Estefania Garces was one of three statewide winners of the Quit Now Indiana contest which paid off with a $1,500 check.
Garces said she started smoking when she graduated from high school.
“I think it was mainly just everyone around me was smoking, like my friends,” said Garces.
She said she always knew she needed to stop smoking but the contest added an extra incentive than the obvious ones.
"The health benefits obviously and I mean I’m in college so obviously I have to try and save money ,” said Garces.
Mark Potuck with Tobacco Control of Elkhart County said that there were over 4,000 entries in the statewide contest.
Potuck said 22 percent of adults in Elkhart County smoke, and while contests are great, the important part is improving your health.
"We really encourage people not just because it's the New Year, but we really encourage people to consider quitting because there's nothing that anybody who smokes can do better for their health than to quit smoking,” said Potuck.
He said Tobacco Control offers a lot of support for those who are trying to quit like classes, one-on-one counseling and even more.
“We can offer nicotine replacement therapy like patches, gum, and lozenges,” said Potuck.
Potluck said if your considering quitting a great place to start is with the 1-800-QUIT-NOW hotline.
Garces, too, has some advice for those who want to put down the pack.
“Every time I had the urge to smoke I would go to the gym or run,” said Garces.
Tobacco Control of Elkhart County said it’s important to remember most county health departments offer support if you want to quit smoking.