Bruce Robinson wants people to quit smoking skpic

Regina's Bruce Robinson says he has offered more than 1,000 people $1,000 each to quit smoking, but few are able to do so. (Adrian Cheung/CBC)

For more than 20 years, Regina's Bruce Robinson has been offering strangers $1,000 each if they quit smoking — but he hasn't gone broke doing it.

In fact, the anti-tobacco crusader says, he has only had to shell out $6,000.

That, he says, is a measure of how difficult it is to quit.

"People call it a bad habit. It's actually a bad addiction and it's just really, really tough to quit smoking, especially if you've been smoking for a few years," he said.

Robinson says he was inspired to make the offers — he estimates he's done it 1,000 times —  because of the smoking-related deaths of his father and four close friends.

Robinson said his routine is to walk up to people on the street, give them his business card, and then offer to pay them $1,000 each if they can quit and stay off tobacco for a full year.

But only a tiny percentage of those who take up the challenge make it.

"I've had people literally throw cigarettes down on the ground and walk away and think that they are gonna quit," he said.

"And I say, 'Here's my card', and they never phone me back." 

Now Robinson is trying to raise money for a documentary.

He wants to make a film called One Thousand Excuses to Quit, to dissuade young people from taking up the habit in the first place.

To fund the film, Robinson hopes to raise $45,000 through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign.