New Supports to Help People in Ontario Quit Smoking
Province Providing Free Nicotine Replacement Products to People Leaving Hospital
Ontario is providing free nicotine replacement products to people leaving hospital, and investing in new programs across the province to help people quit smoking and stay healthy.
The province is funding new quit cards, which will be distributed to up to 7,500 people when they're discharged from more than 80 hospitals across Ontario. Quit cards can be used at any pharmacy to receive free nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches or nicotine gum, which will help people manage their cravings and quit smoking.
The government is also making targeted investments in more than 15 Indigenous communities to develop their own programs to help people quit, as well as investments in communities across Ontario that experience above-provincial average smoking rates.
These new investments build on the government's joint efforts with tobacco control advocates across the province, which have helped bring smoking rates in Ontario down from 24.5 per cent in 2000 to 17.4 per cent in 2014, which represents 408,250 fewer smokers.
Helping people quit smoking 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.
- Ontario is investing an additional $5 million from tobacco tax revenues in these initiatives, including $2.5 million for Quit Cards, $1.5 million for Indigenous communities and $1 million for communities with high smoking rates.
- The quit cards will be distributed to patients until March 31, 2017 and patients must redeem the quit card for nicotine replacement therapy product by April 30, 2017.
- Research suggests it takes an average of 30 quit attempts to successfully quit smoking.
- Helping more smokers quit is part of the government’s Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy, which aims to achieve the lowest smoking rates in Canada.
- This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy.
“These new and expanded cessation programs focus on the communities that most need these services, and support our government’s strong commitment to create a smoke-free Ontario. Quitting smoking can be hard, and our government wants Ontarians to know that we are here to help.”
“Increased spending to improve Ontarians’ direct access to cessation medications is of course important and should increase medication use. Given the high smoking rates in First Nations communities, which are double or triple the rates in non-First Nations communities, more funding to programs and research to reduce commercial tobacco use there is equally, if not more, important. The government should be applauded for this increased emphasis.”