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Helping More Ontarians Quit Smoking

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Helping More Ontarians Quit Smoking

Ontario Marking 10th Anniversary of Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy

Ministry of Health

Today, Ontario is launching a new smoking cessation plan to help drive down smoking rates. 

The province is also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy through the presentation of the Heather Crowe Smoke-Free Ontario Award to tobacco control champions across the province. 

The Helping Smokers Quit: Ontario's Smoking Cessation Action Plan is a provincewide approach to cessation, including:

  • $5 million of increased funding to enhance priority populations' access to smoking cessation services
  • A cessation service network that leverages technology to provide coordinated behavioural supports and programs to tobacco users
  • An online cessation hub that is a centralized access point to help tobacco users navigate the system and to find local services and cessation aids tailored to their needs targeted to be in place by summer of 2017
  • Beginning in the upcoming quit season Ontario's quit line services, providing coaching and counselling by phone, will be available 24/7, followed by the addition of texting capabilities.

To recognize individuals, groups and organizations that have championed tobacco control in Ontario over the past 10 years, Ontario is presenting 10 Heather Crowe Smoke-Free Ontario Awards. Heather Crowe was a non-smoker who developed lung cancer after being exposed to second-hand smoke in her workplace. She travelled across Canada, advocating for improved second-hand smoke by-laws. Heather passed away from lung cancer just nine days before Smoke-Free Ontario legislation came into effect, on May 31, 2006.                               

Promoting a smoke-free Ontario is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to stay healthy and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.

Quick Facts

  • May 31, 2016, marks the 10th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy, which is also this year’s World No Tobacco Day.
  • In partnership with tobacco control service delivery organizations and tobacco control advocates across the province, smoking rates in Ontario have decreased from 24.5 per cent in 2000 to 17.4 per cent in 2014. This represents about 408,250 fewer smokers.
  • The Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy was launched in 2006 to reduce tobacco use and lower health risks to non-smokers in Ontario.
  • Public Health Units across the province are also hosting events on May 31, 2016, to celebrate World No Tobacco Day.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“On the 10th anniversary of Smoke-Free Ontario, I’m excited to launch Ontario’s new cessation plan to improve access to cessation services across the province and provide Ontarians with the information they need to make the right decisions about their health. On this year’s World No Tobacco Day, I am also honoured to recognize the accomplishments of anti-smoking advocates who, like Heather Crowe, have made significant contributions toward achieving a Smoke-Free Ontario. 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.”

Dipika Damerla

Associate Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“The Smoke-Free Ontario Act was a monumental milestone for public health and cancer prevention. While measures implemented over the last 10 years have helped reduce smoking rates, the tobacco industry continues to target young people and fight smoke-free measures. Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable disease and death and is responsible for 30 per cent of all cancers. The Canadian Cancer Society will continue to advocate for stronger tobacco control measures until Ontario is truly smoke-free.”

Rowena Pinto

Vice President, Public Affairs & Strategic Initiatives, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division

“By giving legislative force to the policies, programs and public education initiatives of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act has helped to drive a decade of progress in reducing the harm caused by tobacco use”

George Habib

President and CEO of the Ontario Lung Association

“Ten years ago Heather Crowe advocated with the Heart and Stroke Foundation for a smoke-free province by telling her story to Ontarians through our public education campaign. Today we honour her legacy and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which is among the toughest anti-tobacco legislation in the world. We commend this government for recognizing the crucial role of anti-tobacco leaders and for committing to further action in smoking cessation. Together with our partners and the provincial government, we can ensure that the late Heather Crowe’s efforts for a smoke free Ontario live on.”

Joe Belfontaine

Executive Director, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario

Media Contacts

  • Jeff Costen

    Associate Minister’s Office


  • David Jensen

    Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care




Government Health and Wellness