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Mother of Five Wins $5,000 in Minnesota Quit-Smoking Contest

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Sandy Spindler had five good reasons to quit smoking -- her children. Last night, the Tyler, Minn., mother of five was awarded the $5,000 grand prize in the first ever QuitCash Challenge, a quit-smoking contest sponsored by ClearWay Minnesota(SM) and QUITPLAN Services. More than 2,500 Minnesotans, including Sandy, attempted to quit tobacco use during October for a chance to win.


Sandy was honored for her success in quitting smoking during the first period break of the Minnesota Wild game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. More than 30 contest participants and supporters gathered in a suite dubbed the "Quitters' Box" to celebrate their smoke-free success. In addition to the $5,000 grand prize, two other contest participants received $1,000 Gander Mountain gift cards and 10 more received free luxury suite tickets to the hockey game.

Although the $5,000 grand prize served as an incentive to quit and stay tobacco-free, Sandy said her principal motivation came from her five children. "They would always tell me 'please don't smoke; it's bad for you,'" she said. When asked what tips she'd give others trying to quit, she offered this advice: "Think positive, and try not to think about [smoking]. Just take it one day at a time."

"We were excited to present Sandy with the $5,000 grand prize and wish her luck in her quest to stay tobacco-free," said David Willoughby, Chief Executive Officer at ClearWay Minnesota. "While $5,000 is big motivator to quit tobacco use, the average pack-a-day smoker can save approximately $1,800 every year by quitting -- and that is just the cost of cigarettes."

Willoughby added, "We encourage Minnesota tobacco users looking to quit to use QUITPLAN Services any time of the year to achieve success."

This is the first year ClearWay Minnesota and QUITPLAN Services sponsored The QuitCash Challenge. Minnesota smokers registered online at, a website that also featured a cost savings calculator -- demonstrating just how much money quitting can save a person during the contest and beyond.

Tobacco use takes its toll on all Minnesotans. Each year, 5,600 Minnesotans die from tobacco-related diseases, and the cost of smoking is estimated to be $2 billion in direct health care costs. Minnesotans can find out about all the free help to quit smoking through QUITPLAN Services by visiting or calling 1-888-354-PLAN (7526).

QUITPLAN(R) Services for Minnesotans include:

-- The QUITPLAN(R) Helpline -- The QUITPLAN Helpline, 1-888-354-PLAN (7526), offers telephone counseling and free nicotine patches, lozenges or gum to eligible callers.

-- -- The website offers free lifetime membership, helpful quitting tools and activities and the chance to connect online with thousands of others who have chosen to quit tobacco.

-- QUITPLAN(R) Centers -- QUITPLAN Centers provide in-person counseling in a healthcare setting, as well as access to nicotine patches, lozenges or gum.

-- Community-Tailored QUITPLAN(R) Centers -- A combination of stop-smoking tools and culturally-tailored counseling for communities of color.

-- QUITPLAN(R) at Work -- The QUITPLAN at Work program offers free on-site professional group counseling for eligible businesses with at least eight employees ready to stop smoking.

About ClearWay Minnesota(SM)

ClearWay Minnesota is an independent, non-profit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, QUITPLAN(R) stop-smoking services and statewide outreach activities. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement. For more information on ClearWay Minnesota or QUITPLAN Services, call 952-767-1400 or visit

Contact: Mike Sheldon

              Communications Manager
              (952) 767-1425

SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota
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