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The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit Celebrates 10 years of Smoke-Free Ontario

SIMCOE, MAY 31st, 2016 – May 31st is World No Tobacco Day.  This year, it also marks the 10th anniversary of Smoke-Free Ontario.

Smoke-Free Ontario (SFO) has been helping people quit smoking, protecting people from second-hand smoke and encouraging young people to never start for the past decade. It has led to over 400,000 fewer smokers and saved billions in health care costs. “Today is a day to celebrate the progress we have made and to move forward with our next steps in smoking cessation, protection and prevention,” says Dipka Damerla, Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. “I want to thank all anti-smoking advocates who have made significant contributions to achieving a Smoke-Free Ontario.”

Some of the key achievements of Smoke-Free Ontario include:

  • Smoking bans in all indoor workplaces and public places
  • Restricting the display of tobacco products in stores
  • Banning the sale of flavoured cigarillos
  • Banning smoking on children’s playgrounds, outdoor bar and restaurant patios and publicly owned sports fields and surfaces
  • Banning flavoured tobacco

 “The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit is proud to be a partner of Smoke-Free Ontario, and thrilled to be able to offer programs and services locally, “ says Michelle Lyne, program manager at the HNHU. “This includes offering one-on-one and group quit smoking clinics, working with hospitals to implement smoke-free ground policies, and working with local youth to change attitudes about smoking and support provincial legislation changes”.

Members of the Health Education and Advocacy Team (HEAT), a youth volunteer group with the Health Unit, will be celebrating the successes of SFO and youth advocacy on June 5th at Powell Park in Port Dover.

The event will include a variety of free games such as Zorb racing, giant Jenga and human checkers, all supporting the theme of “beating Tobacco at their own games”. The public is invited to join in on the fun from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The HNHU is committed to continuing its effort to reduce and eventually eliminate tobacco use. “Despite the progress to date, tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable illness and death in Ontario, killing more than 13,000 Ontarians a year,” says Lyne. “There is still more that can be done”. HEAT volunteers plan to support the World Health Organization’s theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day, which is plain and standardized packaging.

“The tobacco industry uses product design and packaging to target different groups of people, including young people,” says Brendan Francis-Cope, a youth volunteer with HEAT. “We need the federal government to pass legislation that would require plain and standardized tobacco products and packaging in Canada.”

Making plain and standardized packaging a requirement in Canada would reduce the attractiveness of tobacco products, eliminate brand loyalties, reduce tobacco advertising and increase the effectiveness of health warnings.

A report highlighting Smoke-Free Ontario, along with local achievements, will be presented to the Board of Health for information on June 28th, 2016.

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Media contact:

Nicole Stone

Health Promoter, Community Health Team

Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
Ext. 3201 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623

[email protected]