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Ontario Helping More Smokers Quit

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Ontario Helping More Smokers Quit

McGuinty Government Expanding Support for Smokers Who Want to Quit

Ministry of Health

Ontario is helping smokers keep their New Year's resolutions to quit during National Non-Smoking Week.

As part of the government's plan to ensure smokers looking to quit have access to the help and support they need, 41 Community Health Centres across Ontario are now providing over-the-counter nicotine cessation aids and counselling, at no cost to smokers. 

In collaboration with community, workplace and health care partners, Ontario is also launching two new innovative smoking cessation initiatives: 

  • Partnering with select workplaces through 11 public health units to reduce smoking among workers in the industrial and service sectors. Initiatives include training peer educators to deliver brief counselling interventions, distributing smoking cessation aids to individuals and counselling through telephone services.
  • Helping patients at hospitals quit smoking through various strategies such as providing both brief and intensive counselling, and improving care for patients with chronic conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and lung cancer. 

These new initiatives build on the success of other supports for smokers offered in Ontario, including free nicotine replacement therapy at 122 Family Health Teams across the province and better access to smoking cessation aids, which can now be prescribed by pharmacists.

Keeping Ontario healthy by building smoke-free communities is an important part of the McGuinty government's Action Plan for Health Care and its goal of having the lowest smoking rate in Canada. 

Quick Facts

  • Each year, 13,000 Ontarians die from smoking-related illnesses — equivalent to 36 lives every day.
  • Tobacco-related disease costs Ontario’s health care system $1.93 billion in direct health-care costs and $5.8 billion in productivity losses annually.
  • The Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy includes programs, policies, legislation and public education aimed at preventing youth from starting to smoke, helping smokers quit and protecting people from exposure to second-hand smoke.
  • Smoking is the number one cause of death and disease in Ontario

Additional Resources


“Smoking rates in Ontario have been steadily dropping over the years and I know that we can keep building on our progress and supporting each other to become smoke-free. I applaud the efforts of Ontarians who are resolving to live healthier and quit smoking. Our government is committed to protecting the health of our residents by providing them with the help they need to quit.”

Deb Matthews

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“Young adults have the highest smoking rate of any age group in Ontario. Many of them, who only smoke occasionally and call themselves “social” smokers, get hooked. If Ontario is to reach its goal of having the lowest smoking rate in Canada, we need to ensure that all Ontarians stop smoking for good.”

Dr. Arlene King

Chief Medical Officer of Health

“Comprehensive smoking-cessation supports, in the community and in the workplace, are proven to be the most effective ways of helping smokers to reduce their dependency on tobacco. By teaming together with other health care stakeholders, our programs to help smokers quit their addictions can become even more effective.”

Dr. Peter Selby

Clinical Director, Addictions Program and Head of the Nicotine Dependence Clinic at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

“Today’s announcement is more progress towards a smoke-free Ontario. Ontario must sustain its efforts to reduce smoking — especially among youth — if we are to achieve the Action Plan’s goal of the lowest smoking rate in Canada.”

Michael Perley

Director, Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

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