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Ontario Providing Free Counselling and Medication to Help Youth Quit Smoking

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Ontario Providing Free Counselling and Medication to Help Youth Quit Smoking

OHIP+ Recipients Eligible for No-Cost Care

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Ontario is making it easier for youth aged 24 years and under to quit smoking by providing them with free counselling from a pharmacist and medication through OHIP+, part of the biggest expansion to medicare in a generation.

More and more people are quitting smoking but studies show youth who smoke become regular smokers by 18 years old. Services and medications covered through OHIP+ to help youth quit include:

  • Support services and counselling by a pharmacist for up to one-year.
  • Prescription medication such as Champix and Zyban for youth ages 18 - 24 if they are participating in smoking-cessation counseling.

Despite significant progress in reducing the use of tobacco products, nearly 13,000 people in Ontario still die each year as a result of smoking. By quitting smoking early, people are less likely to develop smoking-related illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • Smoking costs the health care system an estimated $2.2 billion in direct health care costs.
  • Ontario's smoking rate fell to 16% in 2016, the third-lowest rate in Canada.
  • Ontario is the first province to provide prescription medication coverage at no cost for children and youth age 24 years and under, helping more people afford the medications that they need to stay healthy.
  • OHIP+ gives young people access to more than 4,400 drug products reimbursed under the Ontario Drug Benefit program, including some of the most commonly used medications and those available through the Exceptional Access Program, if an individual qualifies, at no cost.
  • Ontarians can access no-cost nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) through community programs, including those delivered by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Public Health Units.
  • Each year, National Non-Smoking Week is celebrated to raise awareness about the benefits of a smoke-free environment and to encourage smokers to quit.
  • January 24th is Weedless Wednesday, the day when all smokers are encouraged to go tobacco-free for one day, making it the perfect time to begin quitting.

Additional Resources

Quotes

“All families in Ontario deserve the same access to medication to protect their health. Through OHIP+, smoking cessation services and medications will help young people kick the habit early. Quitting smoking is a difficult journey that often takes multiple attempts. Our government wants Ontarians to know that we are here to help.”

Dr. Eric Hoskins

Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

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