Kicking habit may pay off |

Kicking habit may pay off

Aspen Times Staff Report

Aspen City Attorney John Worcester has issued a challenge to smokers: If you want to quit, put your money where your mouth is.

Worcester, who is trying to quit smoking, challenges smokers to quit for 60 days and at the same time get a chance at winning a pot of money. The Aspen Times has agreed to assist Worcester with the details of the challenge. Here’s how it goes:

The challenge is open to all cigarette smokers who want to participate.

Each smoker should bring his or her bet of $25 to The Aspen Times front office. Bets may be in cash or in personal checks made out to “cash.” Senior Editor John Colson will hold the money and keep a record of the participants.

The drop-dead deadline for entering the challenge is Friday, Nov. 19, date of the annual Great American Smoke-Out, sponsored by the American Lung Association.

Any participant who smokes before the 60-day time limit is automatically disqualified and forfeits his or her $25 ante. The honor system will be in effect.

One-half of the total submitted by smokers will be contributed to the American Lung Association. The remaining half will be awarded to the winner of a drawing at the end of the 60 days.

All participants who succeed in staying clear of cigarettes will be entered in the drawing. Colson will place the names of all successful quitters in a hat and draw the name of the winner on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Separate from the challenge, Worcester said, as a personal incentive, he promises to match the challenge donation to the American Lung Association if he doesn’t stay off cigarettes for the 60-day period.

Worcester has been smoking since he was 16, and started at about the time the U.S. Surgeon General announced that cigarette smoking was hazardous.

He says he quit for a year about nine years ago, but started in again after he smoked a cigarette with a golf partner.

He smokes about one pack of Marlboros per day. He buys his in the soft pack.

“They’re easier to hide,” he says.

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