Saying 'yes' to the $1,000 question

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For the past 20 years, a resident of Saskatchewan has been offering strangers $1,000 to quit smoking. Although only six people have taken up his offer, he is pushing forward and now catching it all on film.


Filmmaker, Bruce Robinson (left), offers Fabian $1,000 to quit smoking. 

Lumsden resident, Bruce Robinson, has teamed up with Wow Factor media to produce a documentary, 1,000 Excuses To Quit

"It's a documentary on how tough it is to quit smoking," said Robinson who has had his father and four close friends die from smoking-related illnesses. "That inspired me to get this going."

Robinson has heard every excuse in the book when it comes to people and quitting smoking, including some funny ones. 

The most absurd excuse he has heard was a guy telling him he can't quit because he gets nervous when he's fishing.

"That's my number one best excuse so far," he said.

Despite the cash incentive, only six people have been able to quit out of the thousands of people he has approached. 

"I just walk up to random strangers, I look at them and say 'I'll give you $1,000 if you quit smoking right now,'" said Robinson. "Usually people are stunned, but I say the deal is you have to quit smoking for a year before I pay you and they go 'oh no, I can't do that.'"

Many have tried but failed. Robinson says most people can't get past a month, let alone their next smoke break. 

However, if they do succeed, Robinson pays the successor based on an honour system. 

"If they don't smoke, they're phoning me. If they smoke, they don't bother phoning me," he said. 

"I paid a guy about a week ago who is really really happy he quit smoking. You quit for a year, I pay you the money. If you start smoking you have to pay me back."

Not all people are receptive to Robinson, who has had nurses in front of a hospital yell at him for his approach. 

Robinson's documentary, which has already been filming for two months, promises to capture all of this on camera along with sad, funny, poignant and compelling moments.

A KickStarter crowd-funding campaign has been set up for those who would like to fund the documentary. 

Mickey Djuric can be reached at 306-691-1263 or @Mickey_MJTimes 

Organizations: Wow Factor, Robinson's

Geographic location: Lumsden

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