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Study offers free medication to those ready to STOP smoking

SIMCOE, OCTOBER 15, 2010 – Ontarians who want to quit smoking may be able to get their hands on some free medication and support to help them overcome their addiction. The STOP study (which stands for Smoking Treatment for Ontario Patients) will offer counseling support and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to a number of local residents who meet certain eligibility criteria.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), in partnership with the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport is collaborating with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit to roll out the STOP study, an initiative that aims to reduce tobacco smoking in the province by increasing the use of effective smoking cessation medication and other resources.

“Sometimes people are reluctant to quit smoking because of the cost of NRT. With our program we eliminate the barrier to treatment and enable people to begin the quitting process so they may be able to prevent the onset of serious illnesses brought on by smoking,” said Dr. Peter Selby, Clinical Director of Addiction Programs, CAMH and Principal Investigator of the STOP Study. “In addition to eliminating cost, this project will allow us to help people along in the process and monitor which quitting methods are most effective. This way, we will be able to better treat people in the future.”

Smoking often does not occur in isolation, but rather accompanies other risk factors for disease, such as poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. In addition to providing NRT, STOP will offer educational material to encourage the program participants to make broader changes that can improve their overall health.

“Smokers who are ready to quit smoking frequently need support, and we are ensuring that they have access to effective support to help them along the way,” said Maragrett Best, the Minister of Health Promotion and Sport. “That is why the McGuinty government has made unprecedented investments to improve access to smoking cessation resources for Ontarians who are ready to quit.”

The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit views the STOP study as an ideal opportunity for local citizens who are thinking about quitting smoking, as they will save money and receive free support and resources.

“There are more choices than ever for smokers who want to quit and we are prepared to help them.” said Fiaza Siddiqi, Health Promoter with the Health Unit. “We are happy to be partnering with CAMH and the Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport in giving the people of Haldimand and Norfolk Counties a chance to quit smoking”

Haldimand and Norfolk residents who are interested in participating in the STOP program may do so by attending a STOP workshop, to be held in Simcoe and Dunnville on November 24, 2010. To see if you are eligible to participate, and to register for the workshop(s), call Fiaza Siddiqi at 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623 ext. 3248.

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Media contact:
Fiaza Siddiqi
Health Promoter
Population Health Team
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3248 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623
fiaza.siddiqi@hnhu.org