Background: Successive quit smoking contests undertaken as part of the Minnesota Heart Health Program had generated diminishing impact. The 1988 contest attempted to rejuvenate community interest and participation through a substantially extended enrollment period.
Method: Smokers were eligible for monthly prize drawings and a grand prize drawing by entering the contest at any point between June 1988 and January 1989 and remaining abstinent for at least one month. The contest was promoted through newspaper advertisements, contest flyers, schools, and a community-wide direct mail campaign.
Results: A total of 1,328 smokers returned initial interest cards and 918 (69.1%) of these smokers returned quit pledges. Self-reported abstinence for pledgers and nonpledgers was 16.7% and 9.2%, respectively. Survival analysis indicated significantly longer periods of abstinence for pledgers (p = .0001).
Discussion: The extended contest was successful in recruiting smokers (almost 7% of the entire Bloomington smoking population vs. 1% for a previous one-month contest), especially those with less than a high school education. The current contest required substantial expenditures. However, these costs could be dramatically reduced through innovative use of donated resources.