Anyone who has ever tried to quit smoking knows just how hard it can be to put down that nasty habit for a month, much less forever.

However, in October, a month is all you will need to possibly win $2,500, as Indiana health officials plan to challenge those Hoosiers trying to shake the nicotine monkey off their backs to stop smoking for 31 days for a chance to win some cash.

Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin says Indiana residents wishing to participate in the 2012 Quit Now Indiana contest should start preparing themselves now by exercising and eating healthier, because it takes careful planning and preparation to stop using tobacco products.

Smokers who would like to join the ranks of the nearly 5,000 contestants that entered last year’s contest must be 18-year-old or older and registered by September 30th.

Winners will be selected at random and tested to see if they have been smoke-free before being awarded their prize.

Registration is available at www.QuitNowIndiana.com and www.INShapeIndiana.org.

[Courier Press]