Manitobans who want to quit smoking have a variety of resources to help them, including family members, friends and a contest by the the Manitoba Lung Association. 

The lung association is offering five prizes of $1,000 to five people who stay smoke-free throughout the month of March, as part of its ManitobaQuits contest.

The latest edition of the contest, which has encouraged more than 5,000 Manitobans to quit in the past, was launched Monday during National Non-Smoking Week.

"I've quit smoking. It's really hard to do," Margaret Bernhardt-Lowdon, the association's executive director, said at the contest launch in Winnipeg.

"So if you don't get it the first time, you'll get it the next one or the next, and you just got to keep trying."

Bernhardt-Lowdon said the contest provides smokers with "a little extra incentive" to quit, as well as encouragement and support along the way.

Among those who have signed up for ManitobaQuits is Winnipegger Diane Hatch, who is working on kicking her 26-year habit once and for all.

"This time, oh, I'm determined," she said.

She is getting some help from her mother, Madeline Hatch, and Christine Johnson, a family support worker at the Lord Selkirk Park Resource Centre.

"I think there's something very powerful about having, you know, a friend, someone who believes in you, that knows you, that can tell you're struggling and support you," Johnson said.

The Lord Selkirk Park Resource Centre's "smoking buddy" program is helping Hatch and more than 10 other people quit smoking.

Madeline Hatch said she quit cold turkey four years ago, after 48 years and seven brain aneurysms.

"My health is so important to me because I love my children and my grandchildren. I have to live long," she said.